Soccer-Heavy Spanish influence in Equatorial Guinea squad

MALABO (Reuters) - Equatorial Guinea lent heavily on their migrant community in Spain for their Africa Cup of Nations squad which was named on Monday.

Coach Juan Micha picked 16 Spanish-born players in the 28-man squad for the tournament, which kicks off in Cameroon on Jan. 9.

It includes captain Emilio Nsue, formerly with Middlesbrough and Birmingham City, and Carlos Akapo, who plays for Cadiz in LaLiga.

The vast majority of the players are at small clubs in the lower tiers of league football in Spain, which is the former colonial power of the small central African country.

Equatorial Guinea will be making their third finals appearance, but the first as qualifiers after co-hosting the 2012 tournament and hosting on their own in 2015.

They will compete in Group E start against the Ivory Coast in Douala on Jan. 12. Algeria and Sierra Leone are also in the group.


Goalkepers: Aitor Embela (Somozas), Jesus Owono (Deportivo Alaves), Manuel Sapunga (Futuro Kings), Mariano Magno (Deportivo Unidad)

Defenders: Carlos Akapo (Cadiz), Marvin Anieboh (Cacereno), Cosme Anvene (Deportivo Unidad), Saul Coco (Las Palmas), Miguel Angel Maye (Futuro Kings), Luis Meseguer (Navalcarnero), Basilio Ndong (Start), Luis Enrique Nsue (Futuro Kings), Esteban Obiang (Antequera)

Midfieders: Javier Akapo (Ibiza Islas Pitiusas), Alex Balboa (Deportivo Alaves), Ruben Belima, Federico Bikoro (both Hercules), Jannick Buyla (Gimnastic Tarragona), Santiago Eneme (Nantes), Pablo Ganet (Real Murcia), Jose Machin (Monza), Josete Miranda (Niki Volos)

Forwards: Dorian Hanza (Langreo), Luis Nlavo (Sporting Braga), Emilio Nsue (Apoel Nicosia), Pedro Oba (Futuro Kings), Iban Salvador (Fuenlabrada), Oscar Siafa (Olympiakos Volos).

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Ed Osmond)

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