Afcon 2017: Guinea-Bissau settle strike over unpaid wages

Guinea-Bissau's team coach travels through the crowds
Guinea-Bissau's team coach travels through the crowds

Guinea-Bissau's players have ended their strike after being paid outstanding wages, four days before the start of the Africa Cup of Nations.

It clears the way for the team to make their debut appearance the tournament, which will be held in Gabon from 14 January to 5 February.

After the news emerged, thousands lined the streets of the capital, Bissau, to watch the squad parade by on Tuesday.

Guinea-Bissau play Group A rivals and hosts Gabon in Saturday's opener.

They will also face Burkina Faso and Cameroon in the group stage having achieved a fairytale qualification - one of the biggest shocks in Nations Cup history.

Yet the bonuses that had been promised them for qualifying remained unpaid, leading to the players going on strike at the weekend.

It was only settled after a delegation of three players went to see the country's president, Jose Mario Vaz, Portuguese news agency Lusa reported.

They have since all received between 10,000 and 23,000 euros in outstanding fees, Lusa added.

"In the early hours of Sunday, the players received everything they had to receive," a government spokesman told the agency.

A charter plane, borrowed from Congo-Brazzaville, was due to fly the team to Libreville on Wednesday.

The former Portuguese colony frequently beset by coups, eliminated former champions Congo and Zambia in qualifying last year.

They were a Leicester-like long shot when the qualifiers began, having previously won only four matches in Nations Cup and World Cup qualification combined since first entering international competition just 22 years ago.

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