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Naby Keita’s Guinea qualify for 2022 Africa Cup of Nations after victory over Mali

The Liverpool midfielder was in action as the Syli Nationale book a spot in next year’s continental showpiece after Wednesday’s home victory

Naby Keita has helped Guinea qualify for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations following a 1-0 win over Mali in their penultimate Group A fixture.

The Liverpool midfielder captained Didier Six’s team and he was on parade for the entire duration as Seydouba Soumah’s 75th-minute goal separated both teams at the Stade du 28 Septembre on Wednesday.

Guinea booked their 13th appearance in the African Cup of Nations with an unbeaten record after five games, but they currently sit second after gathering 11 points from five games.

The Syli Nationale have a chance of ending the qualifying series as Group A leaders if beat already eliminated Namibia in their final group match on March 28.

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Mali occupy the top spot with 13 points from six matches after they were awarded a 3-0 victory over disqualified Chad.

Keita joins Senegal’s Sadio Mane as the second Liverpool player that would feature in next year’s Afcon tournament that will hold in Cameroon between January and February 2022.

Last November, Mane scored the winning goal that made the Teranga Lions the first country to qualify for the continental showpiece after a 1-0 victory over Guinea-Bissau.

While Guinea will be aiming to end the qualifiers on a winning note, they will be without key player Keita as the 26-year-old is expected back on the Merseyside this weekend.

“We negotiated with Liverpool, which is one of the biggest clubs in the world, to have Naby Keita for the first game,” Six said.

“After that, we put him on the plane immediately and he will be available for the (Premier League) restart after seven days in isolation, during which time he can train.

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“I made a proposal to the clubs so that we could be as strong as possible for the first match. It takes diplomacy, there’s no point in yelling.”

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