Few observers gave them hope before the tournament began, now, Equatorial Guinea has emerged as the unlikely star of AFCON 2023 so far.
The minnows produced one of the greatest shocks in AFCON history by destroying the star-studded Ivorians in Abidjan to top Group A.
Coach Juan Micha described Monday’s 4-0 TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations win over AFCON 2023 hosts Cote d’Ivoire as the result of carefully executed tactics and belief within his squad.
Emilio Nsue Brace along with goals from Pablo Ganet and Jannick Buyla earned Micha’s men a historic victory.
The outplayed Ivorians crashed to their heaviest-ever home defeat at the AFCON finals.
Micha felt said his team executed the perfect game plan to pull off an upset for the ages.
“We knew the opponent had a lot of pressure on them which we took into account in our strategy,” explained the Equatoguinean coach after the match.
Micha added: “With our humility, we made the effort to reach as far as possible against the big teams.”
Despite the result, Micha insisted his boys remain grounded and focused only on more improvement.
“We are working to reach the level of the big guys. What we want is to believe in ourselves and try to win every time,” he stated.
Micha did spare a thought for heartbroken hosts Cote d’Ivoire saying: “I am hurt because they are the organising country but it is football.”
With the top spot in the bag, the manager talked about the need to quickly move on from their historic triumph.
“We must forget this match and plan for the rest of the competition,” Micha noted matter-of-factly.
The shock Group A winners will confidently look forward to continuing their giant-killing run when they meet one of the third-placed sides in the last 16 on Sunday.
On this, Micha has constructed a tactically astute, defensively sound unit capable of testing Africa’s elite.