‘No special plan for Mahrez’ – Senegal coach Cisse

‘No special plan for Mahrez’ – Senegal coach Cisse
Riyad Mahrez of Algeria

by Staff Reporter

Thursday Jun 27, 2019. 09:00

Ahead of their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations clash against fellow heavyweights Algeria, Senegal coach Aliou Cisse insists there are no special plans in place to deal with the threat of Riyad Mahrez.

Algeria and Senegal were both victorious in their AFCON openers earlier in the weekend, with the Fennec Foxes defeating Kenya 2-0 (featuring a goal from Manchester City star Mahrez) and the Teranga Lions triumphing over Tanzania by the same score.

"There's no anti-Mahrez plan or similar for [Sofiane] Feghouli or [Yacine] Brahimi, they're all good players," said Cisse at Wednesday's pre-match press conference.

"We're approaching this match trying to care of what we need to do. There's nothing definitive riding on this match because there's still another one after that against Kenya."

He added: "It's an important match, we have three points but we're not qualified yet. To go far in this competition you need to win as many matches as possible."

Senegal will welcome back Sadio Mane from suspension, with Keita Balde the player likely to make way for the Liverpool forward despite scoring the opening goal against Tanzania.

"The return of Sadio Mane can give us a boost. He's one of our leaders and he's ready," said Cisse, who is looking to lead the Teranga Lions to a first continental title.

"What does a team need to be African champions? If I had the recipe I think I'd keep it to myself," said Cisse, captain of the team that finished runners-up in 2002.

"You need to be tough mentally and ready to suffer. It's not easy to play in Africa, you can do well in Europe but not find your bearings here.

"Being favourites in this competition doesn't mean much, if you look recently at Zambia or Cameroon two years ago for example, they weren't among the favourites."

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