Sadio Mane of Senegal Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix
Wednesday Dec 06, 2017. 09:30
Although he has urged the Lions of Teranga to do better than other African sides at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Senegalese Sports Minister Matar Ba says they will respect their opponents.
Coach Aliou Cisse's men are drawn in a tough Group H against Poland, Colombia and Japan, but the minister wants a better showing in Russia.
The country's minister said they are aiming to do better than any other African nation at the World Cup and reach the knockout stages next year.
Africa will also be represented by Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt and Nigeria at the global showpiece and Matar Ba says the current generation will make the country proud.
"We won't underestimate any of these teams because all 32 teams who are there have won through the qualifiers and so we have to respect them and we have to take them seriously," he said to the BBC.
"It's not the same - we can't compare them. Each generation does its work and this generation want to do better than the team of 2002.
"We have a great team and we have Senegalese coach and we are going to prepare well for a good performance.
"We are ambitious but we are also reasonable and so we are going to set obtainable objective.
"Nothing can be hidden these days with the internet. We can see everything we can analyse Colombia's matches and all the others."
Senegal will begin their Group H campaign against Poland on 19 June in Moscow before they play Japan on 24 June and finally Colombia four days later.
With coach Cisse part of the 2002 squad in South Korea and Japan that reached the quarterfinals, Matar Ba is hoping for a semifinal finish next year.