Sudan coach (pictured) Mohammed ‘Mazda’ Abdullah, who is targeting a third qualification for the continental showpiece event slated for Gabon 2017, has warned some of his old guards that they must bank on their experience or reputation will count for nothing when they take on Sierra Leone in their opening African Nations Cup qualifying campaign.
Mazda is looking to kick-off on Sunday on the right foot, but he is wary of an upset, he told cafonline.com, “We will engage the match against Sierra Leone without any preparatory matches.
“We will on rely on our experience and the harmony the players have acquired from previous international matches.”
With temperatures expecting to reach in excess of 35 degrees and humidity also a contributing factor, Leone Stars will know that their fitness and resolve will be tested against the Falcons of Jediane.
Last year, Mazda guided local-based players to upset the Almighty Super Eagles, Nigeria in the qualifiers for the 2015 edition held in Equatorial Guinea few months ago.
“We beat Egypt, then African champions in 2008 and 2010. We are emerged victors against Zambia barely four months after their historic triumph in 2012. At home, we have managed good results against teams ranked above us namely Tunisia, Mali amongst others. We have come to know this craggy road very well,” he added.
Sierra Leone, on the other hand, is going into a very tricky contest without several of its key players including MLS top scorer, Kei Kamara and former Celtic striker Mohamed Bangura, Left and right backs Sheriff Suma, Mustapha Dumbuya and Genoa midfielder Rodney Strasser.
Al Hilal defender, David Simbo suspended, Orebro SK striker, Alhassan ‘Crespo’ Kamara injured, Turkey-based, Balikesirspor midfielder Khalifa Jabbie injured
In their last AFCON campaign, they were the only side without a win from six matches conceded 14 goals scored 3, drew 1 and lost 5 securing a single point.
By Alie Bittar