Guinea secured their progress from Group D of the Africa Cup of Nations with some dazzling lot drawing that will have sent a message to potential opponents.
That message will be that Guinea can beat anyone on their day in a hotel room hunched over a clear glass bowl with two hollow balls inside it.
While Guinea’s triumph may have owed something to fortune, it’s also a massive vindication of the team’s training regime, which has been heavily weighted towards lot drawing.
“There were a few eyebrows raised when I said that I’d be conducting the majority of my sessions in a hotel conference room,” Guinea coach Michel Dussuyer told FourFourTwo.
“But you put in those hard hours over the bowl just for occasions like this. I couldn’t be prouder with the way [financial director] Amara Dabo stepped up to the mark. He’d been whipping the right ball out of there in training, but it’s a different thing entirely when the pressure’s on.”
In stuffy conditions in a hotel in Malabo, Dabo kept his cool, thoroughly outwitting opposite number Boubacar Diarra with an imperious drawing of lots.
“The way Dabo picked the correct one of the two green balls out of a small bowl will be an inspiration to all those kids on the streets in Guinea drawing lots day in, day out just for the fun of it.
“It was the same for me growing up in France, as soon as the bell went for the end of school we’d be out there with a perspex bowl and two plastic balls, come rain or shine.
“And to think that some people were telling me we should have been practising set-pieces!”
Guinea will now take on Ghana and, while Dussuyer’s men will be underdogs, the Black Stars will know exactly how dangerous their opponents can be if their administrative staff are allowed to participate in a game of chance.
“We’ll let them worry about us,” Dussayer insisted. “We could go all the way in this competition, as long as we keep our games as administrative as possible.”
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