Thursday Mar 25, 2021. 14:03
Congo will be aiming to book their spot at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) when they host already qualified Senegal at Stade Alphonse Massemba-Débat in Brazzaville on Friday.
Kick-off is at 18h00 CAT.
Both teams have had to overcome several challenges in preparation for the tie, mostly due to their large foreign contingent. But despite all the problems presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, both coaches will be able to call upon a catalogue of stars.
Congo head coach Valdo Filho has gathered a youthful contingent with Dimitri Bissiki the most experienced player in the Red Devils squad, but in Thievy Bifouma the Congolese boast a noticeable attacking weapon.
Senegal head coach Aliou Cisse will be without both Edouard Mendy and the in-form Ismaila Sarr due to injury, but Liverpool star Sadio Mane and Kalidou Koulibaly are among those available for this month’s qualifiers.
Despite having already qualified, Cisse has been able to assemble a seriously strong roster which includes Leicester City midfielder Papy Mendy who could make his Teranga Lions debut on Friday.
“No, never! I have never snubbed Senegal and I have never pushed Senegal away, either. I was never called,” said Mendy in an interview with Galsenfoot this month.
“This is the first time that a coach from Senegal called me without hesitation, I came to answer. After that, there were things that were said.
“But I confess that I am very proud and very honoured to be part of the history of this beautiful team from Senegal. All my loved ones are as happy as I am.
“Aliou Cisse is the only Senegalese coach who called me and explained his project to me. But before he got his phone call, no one else spoke to me, either a manager nor a coach.”
Senegal head into the tie having accumulated a maximum haul of 12 points from their allotted Group I fixtures. Congo sit on seven points and will qualify with victory in Brazzaville.
The Teranga Lions defeated Congo 2-0 in the reverse fixture in Thies.
The top two nations in each group advance to the 24-team finals hosted in Cameroon next year.