Equatorial Guinea is the only Spanish-speaking territory in Africa and thanks to its new-found oil wealth has been able to invest heavily in footballing infrastructure.
It has meant a massive leap of progress for the country, no longer regarded as a minnow on the African circuit but a rather dangerous opponent. Cameroon discovered as much at the end of the 2008 CAF Africa Cup of Nations when the Nzalang Nacional beat them 1-0 in their last qualifier, albeit after Cameroon had already qualified
Equatorial Guinea now draw heavily from players based in Spain, notably captain Rodolfo Bodipo from Deportivo La Coruna and Javier Balboa, the teenage prodigy from Real Madrid.
Although the national football association of Equatorial Guinea was founded in 1960, they only affiliated to FIFA in 1986 and since then have only participated in two FIFA World Cup ™ preliminary competitions.
In the first round of the qualification competition for Korea/Japan 2002, they were drawn against Congo and were knocked out after losing both matches. In the African pre-preliminary qualifying rounds for Germany 2006, Equatorial Guinea surprised observers when they beat the fancied Togo 1-0 in Bata in the first leg. Their dream of an unlikely place in the second round came crashing to the ground in Lome though, as Togo won 2-0 to knock Equatorial Guinea out.
They begin their South Africa 2010 qualifying campaign at home to Sierra Leone but will be severely tested by South Africa and Nigeria, who are also in their group.