BATA, Equatorial Guinea - Equatorial Guinea coach Esteban Becker described the host nation’s achievement in reaching the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations as a “Cinderella story” after they beat Gabon 2-0 on Sunday.
“It’s a Cinderella story, the poor team beating the rich team on merit, thanks to their sacrifice, their commitment, their pride and their passion,” said the Argentine, whose side progressed from Group A as runners-up behind Congo Brazzaville with a win and two draws.
It is a remarkable story given that Becker himself was only appointed as coach at the start of this month. “This squad only came together 20 days ago in Madrid, then we went to Lisbon and put in place a style of play with optimism. “We were convinced in every training session that we could go far. To be in the top eight in Africa is an honour for such a small nation.”
Former Real Madrid player Javier Balboa, whose penalty opened the scoring against the Gabonese, rejected opposition claims that he dived to win the spot-kick. “I’m delighted for my country, my team and for myself. Today is a great day for the whole of Equatorial Guinea,” he said.