Bangoura rejects Guinea chance to focus on Nantes

By Oluwashina OkelejiBBC Sport
Ismael Bangoura
Ismael Bangoura

Guinea striker Ismael Bangoura has ruled himself out of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations to concentrate on his club football with French Ligue 1 side FC Nantes.

Bangoura was named in the Syli Nationale squad for their final qualifiers against Togo and Uganda in November.

He was expected to be included in coach Michel Dussuyer's final Nations Cup squad, but Bangoura has fallen down the international pecking order and wants to focus on his club career instead.

"At 29 years of age, I am reaching a crucial point in my career," said Bangoura after his club's win at Lorient on Saturday.

Nantes were sanctioned by Fifa following a dispute over the signing of Bangoura from Al Nasr in January 2012.

Although the striker has struggled to command a first team place so far this season, he says he is determined to repay the faith the club has shown in him.

"I went through difficult times without giving up, and as my coach is putting his faith in me I cannot afford any longer to have it both ways.

"I want to give back to the club what they have given to me."

Bangoura has played in three Nations Cups and helped Guinea reach the quarter-finals in 2006 and 2008.

A mainstay since his debut in 2006 but now a third-choice striker behind Mohamed Yattara and Idrissa Sylla, Bangoura who has won 49 caps and scored 13 goals, is not so keen on a fourth appearance at the biennial event.

"It would be a pity to leave for the Africa Cup of Nations in January while FC Nantes will have many games to play. My club remains my priority," he told football reporters in France.external-link

"Would it come as a great disappointment if I don't go to the Nations Cup? No."

The Guineans are in Group D with Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Mali for the 17 January to 8 February finals in Equatorial Guinea.

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