One of Nigeria’s group opponents at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations may be relying on a half-fit and relutanct player to run the rule in their midfield, as Guinea’s Liverpool star, Naby Keita has admittted he is not fit enough to play inthe competition.
Although the former RB Leipzig of Germany youngster confessed he is yet to fully recover from a rcent injury he copped in action for his club, Guinea have forced him into their squad for AFCON 2019.
They will battle Nigeria in their second group match, which will be on June 26 in Alexandria, Egypt, and the team that stopped the Super Eagles from making it to AFCON 2012 in Equaotrial Guinea/Gabon will rely on the youthful dazzler to wreek havoc of the Nigerians.
However, that might not be the case, with their witty ploy now likely to backfire, after the 24-year-old Keita admitted in clear terms that he is not fit for the championship in Egypt this month, due to a thigh injury.
Keita was injured while playing for Liverpool against Barcelona in a UEFA Champions League semi-final fixture last month and The Reds’ manager, Jurgen Klopp said the midfiedler should be sidelined for two months.
Before battling Nigeria, Guinea, who have lost warm-up matches against Gambia and Benin Republic, will launch their Group B campaign in Egypt against Madagascar on June 22, one day after the tournament kicks off.
Guinea and three-time champions Nigeria are favoured to qualify for the knockout second round from a group completed by debutants Burundi and Madagascar, but Syli Nationale may be hampered by Kieta’s plight.
“I am not yet fully fit to play,” Keita admitted on Guinea TV after Belgian coach, Paul Put named the Liverpool whiz-kid in his 23-man squad for the biennial African soccer showpiece.
“After training with the ball at Liverpool, I have arrived at the Guinean training camp in Morocco and am ready to train with the team.
“I want to reassure Guinean supporters, the coaches and the rest of the squad that I believe I will be ready for our first match.”