2019 AFCON: Liverpool’s Keita named in Guinea squad
Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita has been named in Guinea’s final 23-man squad for this month’s Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt despite admitting that he is “not yet fully fit to play.”
The 24-year-old is still recovering from a thigh injury he sustained at Barcelona in the European Champions League semi-final on 1 May.
He was the last player to arrive at the Syli National camp in Marrakech on Monday night and did not feature in their 1-0 defeat to Benin in a Nations Cup warm-up match the following day.
Keita said he hoped to be fit for Guinea’s Nations Cup opening Group B match against Madagascar on 22 June.
“I am not 100%,” Keita admitted in a television interview on the Guinea Football Federation Facebook page, just after he arrived in Morocco.
“But when I was in Liverpool, I started training with the ball. As I’m here now I’m going to train with the team to see.
“I want to reassure the Guinean fans, the coach and my teammates that I think I’ll be ready for the first match.”
Keita was not fit to play in the Champions League final against Tottenham on 1 June which Liverpool won 2-0 to be crowned European champions.
Guinea will play their last warm-up match against Nations Cup hosts Egypt on Sunday in Alexandria but it is not yet known if Keita will take part.
The Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp had initially said Keita would be out of action for two months just after he picked up the injury but later also revealed the player was ahead of schedule in his recovery process.
Two locally-based players from the 25-man provisional list – midfielder Abdoulaye Paye Camara and goalkeeper Moussa Camara – both with Guinean giants Horoya, were the only players dropped by the Syli National coach Paul Put.
Other notable players included in the list are Bordeaux striker Francois Kamano, Napoli midfielder Amadou Diawara and the Syli National skipper Ibrahima Traore who plays for Borussia Monchengladbach.
Three players with dual nationality, called up for the first time, also made the cut. They are France-born Brentford defender Julian Jeanvier, former French youth international Fode Koita and Mikael Dyrestam who has featured in two friendly internationals for Sweden’s national team.
Two players who committed their international future to Guinea during the 2019 Nations Cup qualifiers, Simon Falette and Ernest Boka Seka, are also set to feature in their first Africa Cup of Nations finals.
After their opening game with Madagascar, Guinea will face Nigeria on 26 June and will wrap up their group campaign with a match against Burundi four days later.
Goalkeepers: Naby Yattara (Excelsior, Reunion Island), Ibrahima Koné (Pau, France), Aly Kéita (Ostersunds, Sweden)
Defenders: Fodé Camara (Gazélec Ajaccio, France), Issiaga Sylla (Toulouse FC, France), Ernest Seka (Nancy, France), Simon Falette (Eintracht Frankfurt, Germany), Ousmane Sidibé (Béziers, France), Baissama Sankoh (Caen, France), Mikael Dyrestam (AO Xanthi FC, Greece), Julian Jeanvier (Brendford, England)
Midfielders: Amadou Diawara (Napoli, Italy), Ibrahima Cissé (Fulham, England), Boubacar Fofana (Gaz Metan, Romania), Naby Keita (Liverpool, England), Mady Camara (Olympiakos, Greece)
Forwards: François Kamano (Bordeaux, France), Mohamed Yattara (Auxerre, France), Ibrahima Traoré (Borussia M’Gladbach, Germany), José Kanté (Gimnastic Tarragona, Spain), Idrissa Sylla (Zulte Waregem, Belgium), Fodé Koita (Kasimpasa, Turkey), Sory Kaba (Dijon, France)