Johannesburg — Teenager Franculino Dju scored the winner as Guinea-Bissau completed their most successful Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying campaign on Monday with a 2-1 home victory over Sierra Leone.
Denmark-based Dju struck after 48 minutes of the Group A match in Bissau, holding off several opponents to fire the ball across goalkeeper Mohamed Kamara into the far corner of the net.
Amadou Bakayoko, who plays for Scottish Premiership club Dundee, nodded Sierra Leone in front from a corner after six minutes in the west African port city.
Slow to settle, Guinea-Bissau levelled after 35 minutes when a powerful header from Fernando ‘Nito’ Gomes after a free-kick gave Camara no chance.
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Only pride was at stake as Nigeria and Guinea-Bissau had already filled the two qualifying places at the expense of Sierra Leone and Sao Tome e Principe.
Guinea-Bissau, popularly known as the Wild Dogs, will be appearing at a fourth consecutive AFCON in an amazing turnaround after having an extremely weak national team for decades.
Defeating Sierra Leone took their group points total to 13 – three more than in their previous best campaign. They qualified once with 10 points and twice with nine.
Local Baciro Cande has been the coach in all four successful campaigns, and his goal at the January 13-February 11 tournament in the Ivory Coast will be to achieve a first win at the finals.
Before the match kicked off, a minute of silence was observed in honour of the victims of the Moroccan earthquake, which has claimed at least 2 681 lives, according to the interior ministry.
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