Equatorial Guinea’s Argentine coach Esteban Becker declared himself satisfied with his side’s display despite having to settle for a 1-1 draw with Congo Brazzaville in their CAF Africa Cup of Nations opener.
A late Thievy Bifouma strike earned Congo a draw after Emilio Nsue had given the hosts the lead in the Group A clash in Bata, but Becker said: “I have good feelings after this match. It is the start of a new process, with young players and more experienced ones to guide them.
“We could have had all three points, and it’s a shame to drop two in the last five minutes. But I am very pleased with my players and it was a fair result,” added Becker, whose team would have gone 2-0 20 minutes from time had another Nsue effort not been harshly ruled out for offside.
However, having had barely two weeks to put together a team after being appointed at the start of this month, Becker felt the performance was a good sign of things to come. “We were invited to take part as the host country and we had only ten days to prepare, but we handled the expectation,” said the Argentine, who is already setting his sights on qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™.
“There were 35,000 people here and there was pressure on us, but our veterans dealt with it all well. Our opponents are powerful and have been playing together for a long time, with great players like Bifouma who plays for Almeria. If we had more time, the team would have been more fluid. The result is important, as is qualifying, but these players can reach their peak in 2018.