Ghana/Guinea: Gamble On Fitness of Keita for AFCON

GUINEA have chosen Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita for the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt this month despite concerns about his thigh injury.

"I am not yet fully fit to play," admitted the 24-year-old star to Guinean TV after Belgian coach Paul Put named his 23-man squad for the biennial African football 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."

Guinea, who have lost warm-up matches against the Gambia and Benin, launch their Group B campaign in Egypt against Madagascar on June 22, one day after the tournament kicks off.

Keita was injured playing for Liverpool against Barcelona in a UEFA Champions League semi-final last month and manager Jurgen Klopp said he would be sidelined for two months.

Guinea and three-time champions Nigeria are favoured to qualify for the knockout second round from a group completed by debutants Burundi and Madagascar.

Winners and runners-up from the six groups advance along with the best four third-place finishers in a competition expanded to 24 nations for the first time.

"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."

The Guineans came closest to winning the Cup of Nations in 1976, when they finished runners-up to Morocco after the only edition decided by a mini-league. - Cafonline

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