Friday Mar 12, 2021. 14:00
Legendary Senegalese winger El Hadji Diouf says the Lions of Teranga can win the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title if they believe in their own abilities.
The Lions of Teranga have never won Africa’s most prestigious football tournament, but they have finished second twice in 2002 and 2019.
Senegal have world-class players such as Liverpool FC forward Sadio Mane and SSC Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly in their squad.
Diouf, who was part of the Lions of Teranga squad which finished second at the 2002 AFCON finals, discussed why Senegal are yet to win the title.
“To be champions, it is about the organisation, hard work and belief,” Diouf told BBC Africa.
“I think what the Senegalese team needs today to be the champions of Africa is to believe. You can have all the talent you want around the world but if you don’t believe in yourself,
“if you don’t say ‘I’m coming to win this Afcon in Cameroon’, you are never going to do it. You have to believe in yourself, work hard and in players like Sadio Mane, we have the key to success.”
Diouf, who turned out for English giants Liverpool and Leeds United during his playing days, is widely regarded as one of the greatest African wingers having been named CAF African Footballer of the Year twice.
“They are the best – they have to know they are the best and they have to believe they are the best,” the 40-year-old added.
“The only thing I have to say to them is to think about just one thing: the thing that I missed out on in my career – to be the first Senegal team to win Afcon.”
Senegal have already qualified for the 2022 AFCON finals and they will face the Democratic Republic of Congo and Eswatini in their last two qualifiers later this month.