Tuesday Aug 31, 2021. 15:30
Senegal will be aiming to exact revenge on Togo when they meet their West African counterparts in a CAF second round 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying match at Stade Lat-Dior in Thies on Wednesday.
Kick-off is at 18:00 CAT.
The Lions of Teranga are overwhelming favourites to progress onto the third round of qualifying from a group which also includes Congo and Namibia.
With players like Sadio Mane, Edouard Mendy and Kalidou Koulibaly at their disposal, Senegal boast a squad full of world class talent and the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations runners-up will be expected to reach a third World Cup tournament.
Senegalese head coach Aliou Cissé competed as a player at the 2002 World Cup in South Korea / Japan and has played an integral part of their success over the last few years, but he will be under pressure to lead a star-studded Senegal team to Qatar following their appearance in Russia three years ago.
Togo upset Senegal on their way to reaching the 2006 World Cup in Germany, which remains their only appearance on the world’s biggest stage. The Sparrowhawks of today are a far cry from that team but Paulo Duarte is confident that his team can cause a few upsets.
Duarte was appointed as Togo’s new head coach in May following the departure of Claude Le Roy who stepped down after the country’s failure to qualify for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.
“What happened in 2006 could be positive for us, especially in terms of the mindset of the players,” Duarte said in an interview with FIFA.com.
“The reality on the pitch is different, though. Togo are in a transitional phase, with a lot of key players having retired in the last four years. We’ve gone from being a team that was feared throughout Africa and reached 36 in the world ranking to one that now lies 133rd.
“Taking Togo back to the top won’t be easy,” he added. “It’s going to take time and hard work. Senegal are twice as strong as us at the moment, and we’re not as strong as the Togo side that took on Senegal in 2006 and qualified. That’s the truth of it.”
This will be the first meeting between the two nations since the 2006 qualifiers. The Togolese won 3-1 in Lome and secured a 2-2 draw in Dakar on their way to punching their World Cup ticket.