Soccer

Coach defends Spain vs Equatoria Guinea match

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MALABO, Equatorial Guinea (AP)

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has defended the country's decision to play an international exhibition in Equatorial Guinea amid disapproval that the visit legitimized a regime criticized for human rights violations.

The game Saturday between the world champions and Spain's former colony will mark the first time a nation from outside Africa has played in Malabo since President Teodoro Obiang Nguema took power in 1979.

Del Bosque says ''we're athletes, football players, we didn't come here to topple anyone or to protest against anybody.''

Spain midfielder Juan Mata says ''it doesn't matter where we play,'' while adding ''it will be the game of a lifetime for them.''

Spain will play another exhibition in South Africa on Tuesday.

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