Sylla cautions Guinea against complacency
ALEXANDRIA, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Guinea, surprise winners over South Africa, must beware of complacency when they meet Zambia in the African Nations Cup on Thursday, according to midfielder Mohamed Sylla.
'Although both we and Tunisia won, I have a feeling this group is far from decided,' Sylla told Reuters in an interview in Alexandria on Monday.
'There could still be one or two turns in this group and if we don't watch out, it could be a tight finish. My team mates have to make sure they are as committed against Zambia as they were against South Africa.'
Guinea beat South Africa 2-0 while Zambia were outclassed in the 4-1 defeat to Tunisia in the opening Group C matches last Sunday.
Sylla, left out of Guinea's starting line-up because of a back complaint, said he felt the team had the ability to improve on their performance at the last Nations Cup finals in Tunisia, where they conceded a late goal against Mali to lose out in the quarter-finals.'
'Everyone is setting their sights on the semi-finals, on going one better than last time,' he said. 'There hasn't been too much attention focused on us but we know that in our squad we have a lot of good players.
'The team is young but almost all the players are based in Europe. It gives us great hope for the future. I am only 30 but I feel like an old man in this group,' he quipped.
Sylla is playing in his first Nations Cup after missing the last tournament for the birth of his first child.
Born in the Ivory Coast, he made a choice as a teenager to play for Guinea, where his father hails from.
'I was in the Ivory Coast junior side and played a few training matches but it's good to play for my father's country,' Sylla said.
Sylla grew up in the same neighbourhood as Ivorian international Bonaventure Kalou and is godfather to Chelsea star Didier Drogba's son.
'He and I used to play at Le Mans together. I remember sitting and watching Champions League matches with him after training and then a few years later we were able to call each other to wish good luck for Champions League games.'
Sylla played in the competition while with Celtic, who he left for Leicester City at the start of the season.
'I always knew Didier would become a big star but he is still down to earth and a lot of fun. It would be nice to play against him in this competition,' he said.