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AFCON 2015 Preview: Equatorial Guinea v Congo

Equatorial Guinea get the Africa Cup of Nations under way against Group A rivals Congo on Saturday looking to cause a shock after what has been a tumultuous few months.

For the hosts, the weekend's curtain-raiser will likely come as something of a relief after the lengthy disagreement between Morocco, who were due to stage the tournament, and the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

Moroccan officials and CAF disagreed over the threat of the Ebola virus and, as such, Equatorial Guinea were selected instead.

To add to the chaotic preparations, former Equatorial Guinea coach Andoni Goikoetxea then left his role after failing to arrive at the team's training camp in Portugal, leaving women's national team coach Esteban Becker to take over.

With the focus now turning to on-pitch matters, Becker's men will hope to spring a surprise or two - having not initially qualified for the tournament because of fielding an ineligible player.

As they prepare to kick off a group campaign alongside Burkina Faso and Gabon, Becker is keen for his young side to impress.

"We want to surprise a few people. We will take things one game at a time and try to do well for the people of the country who are all behind us," the Argentine told Radio Marca. 

"We have a new, young squad of players who play in the lower leagues in Spain. I called up hungry young players and I hope they do well."

Facing them at the Estadio de Bata are another nation not fancied to threaten the latter stages - a Congo side coached my AFCON veteran Claude Le Roy, who has only failed to take his team to the last eight once. 

Le Roy will manage at the African competition for the eighth time this year, having previously taken charge of nations such as DR Congo, Ghana, Cameroon and Senegal.

As well as seeking to impress with Congo - who will feature at AFCON for the first time since 2000 - Le Roy also has another motivation to reach the latter stages, having recently complained of the standard of accommodation available to his side.

"I don't want a big five-star hotel. I just want something very clean," Le Roy - who won the competition in 1988 with Cameroon - told the BBC's World Service.

"I told the players to qualify for the last eight - some teams will leave and maybe we will have a very nice hotel!"

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