By Mohamed Fajah Barrie in Conakry 
The head coach of Guinea Bissau national team Baciro Candé says he respects Sierra Leone ahead of their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Conakry on Monday.
The group A match will mark the second for each of the two teams after Guinea Bissau defeated Sao Tome & Principe 5-1 at home and Sierra Leone lost 2-1 to Nigeria in their opening qualifying matches last week.
“I respect the Sierra Leone team because they’re a strong side,” Coach Candé said in the pre-match press conference.
The 55-year-old added: “It’s a difficult match as we know that the Sierra Leone style of play is different.
“But we’re ready.”
Coach Candé who guided Guinea Bissau to the last three Africa Cup of Nations finals insists that they’re going into the match without any injury worries.
Sierra Leone have an edge on head to head as they’ve never lost to Guinea Bissau winning seven of their previous twelve meetings but Coach Candé said: “There’s a first time for anything as it’s possible that we win this time round.”
Similar sentiments were expressed by the Djurtus vice captain Sori Mané.
The last time the countries met was in the 2010 joint World Cup and Nations Cup qualifiers with Sierra Leone winning in Freetown 1-0 and drew the away leg goalless in 2007.
Leone Stars coach John Keister admitted too that the encounter is going to be a difficult one, adding that: “I think it’s very important we bounce back after the defeat to Nigeria.
“There are no longer minors in African football, there are no more easy games but we’re looking forward to starting our winning ways in this match. We consider it a must win match.”
Leone Stars are playing their home match in a neutral venue because the Siaka Stevens Stadium which is being renovated wasn’t up to standards to host the group A fixture.
The former Sierra Leonean international Keister is not bothered about it saying that: “It’s what it is, we are not making excuses.'”
On injury concerns in his squad, Keister admitted that there are a few players with knocks despite all 25 players participating in the Sunday’s training session and that it was too early to rule out any player from the match.
The Leone Stars skipper Steven Caulker added: “We don’t feel any pressure because i trust the squad and the technical team.”
“We’ve prepared well, we got a good three days training since we are back from Nigeria,  the boys are in good spirits.
“We had a good performance against Nigeria, we obviously didn’t get the result that we were hoping for, but there were lots of positives to take from it.
“So we are looking to build on those positives and go and compete and hopefully get three points against a strong Guinea Bissau team.”
Djurtus are going to match as group leaders ahead of Nigeria’s Super Eagles on goal difference and Leone Stars are third. Sao Tome and Principe who host Nigeria on Monday are bottom of the log.