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2012 Africa Cup of Nations team profiles: Focus on Equatorial Guinea’s AFCON history

January 6, 2012 By Angela Asante
How much do you know about one of Africa’s worst ranked footballing nation, Equatorial Guinea? As the country is preparing to co-host the 2012 AFCON, we take you through the team’s soccer history.

Equatorial Guinea at the 2012 AFCON - Co-hosts.The Federación Ecuatoguineana de Fútbol will experience a new challenge at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations. Brazilian coach Gilson Paulo and skipper Rodolfo Bodipo will shoulder the task of leading Equatorial Guinea in their first ever Nations Cup tournament. The Nzalang Nacional (National Lighting) deservedly seats 150th in the FIFA Ranking, 86 places below their highest ever grade (in March 2008).

Poor AFCON history – What’s next for the National Lighting?

The 1990 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers marked Equatorial Guinea’s first involvement in the continent’s most important championship. The African minnows were tasked to face Angola in a home and away tie in the Preliminary Round.


Equatorial Guinea suffered a 4-1 whipping in the hands of the Black Antelopes. They found a bit of pride through a goalless draw on home soil. However, the damaged had already been done as the possibility of reaching Algeria quickly faded out.

The National Lighting waited until the 21st century to try their luck again as they did not enter between 1992 and 1994 and withdrew for the CAN 1996. But since 2002, Equatorial Guinea have portrayed nothing else but failure during qualification campaigns.

The Nzalang Nacional once again clashed against Angola’s Palancas Negras in the Prelimanry round. History repeated itself, perhaps on a more cruel note. The first leg in Malabo ended 1-0 in favor of the hosts.

Equatorial Guinea landed in Luanda with a few hopes as the deficit was then quite minimal. Miserably, though, the Angolans fired their guns and the National Lighting went home with a heavy 5-1 aggregate loss.

The qualifying process changed for Equatorial Guinea ahead of the 2004 AFCON. They went through group stage battles against Sierra Leone, Morocco and Gabon. Their first three matches ended 3-1, 5-0 and 4-0 respectively. The poor history of Equatorial Guinea

On 8 June 2003, Equatorial Guinea recorded their first victory in the Nations Cup qualifiers by beating Gabon 2-1. Defeats to the Leone Stars and Lions of the Atlas saw the National Lighting round up the 2004 African Cup of Nations qualifiers on a miserable note.

Nothing good happened for Equatorial Guinea during the next AFCON qualification campaigns as if football fans of the National Lighting have no right to hope. 

Equatorial Guinea at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations

Co-hosting the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations should boost the country’s hopes of dazzling on the big stage. In fact, Equatorial Guinea have never qualified for the continent’s biggest club tournament.
This year’s edition will give the opportunity to the National Lighting’s current generation of players to enjoy AFCON football. CAN 2012 is indeed an immense opportunity for the Spanish-speaking country.

What impression will they create as beginners among Africa’s best? How hopeful should they be of surmounting the group phase challenge posed by Libya, Senegal and Zambia?

Equatorial Guinea's 2012 AFCON squad is as follows:

Goalkeepers: Danilo Emanuel, Felipe Ovono Sony de, Achil Pensi Muokembe    

Defenders: David Alvarez, Raul Ivan Fabiani Bosio, Jose Bokung, Lawrence Sokota Doe, Armando Sipoto, Rui Fernando da Gracia Gomes    

Midfielders: Narcisse Ekanga Amia, Rolan de la Cruz Biyogo, Juvenal Edjogo Owono, Daniel Vazquez Evuy, Juan Máximo Eyama, Ben Esono Konate, Fousseiny Kamissoko, Jose Javier Balboa Osa       

Forwards: Rodolfo Bodipo, Daniel-Bladimir Ekedo, Iban 'Randy' Iyanga, Ivan Bolado Palacios, Thierry Fidjeu, Ellong Douwala Viera

Read next team profile - Gabon.


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