Senegal to finally claim an AFCON crown?

Senegal to finally claim an AFCON crown?
Senegal coach Aliou Cissé talks to his players

by Graeme Jackson

Saturday Feb 05, 2022. 13:00

Senegal will look to claim a first Africa Cup of Nations title when they face Egypt in the final, set for the Olembe Stadium in Yaounde on the evening of Sunday 6 February 2022, kick-off at 21:00 CAT.

Senegal overcame the challenge of fellow West Africans Burkina Faso in the first semifinal on Wednesday night: goals from Abdou Diallo, Idrissa Gueye and Sadio Mane pushed the Teranga Lions into a second successive AFCON final and third overall.

Coach Aliou Cisse was involved in the previous two (as a player in 2002 and coach in 2019) and will be determined to see the West African nation shrug off their status as one of the best teams never to win the Nations Cup.

“We know it will be a very difficult final,” said Cisse. “I congratulate my players because we have come a long way. They had the right mentality. I can assure you that the best quality of a player in the national team is having the right mentality.”

He added, “What matters to us is winning the African Cup… We will face a great African team and we will be ready.”

Egypt, meanwhile, ousted host nation Cameroon in the second semifinal played on Thursday night, with a hard-fought match ending goalless after 120 minutes, before the North Africans triumphed 3-1 on penalties.

This has given the Pharaohs the chance to claim a record-extending eighth AFCON title and further underline that the North African nation is indeed the greatest football power on the African continent.

Egypt coach Carlos Queiroz stated, “Words like fear have been erased from our dictionary. In our football dictionary, there is the word respect. We have great respect for our opponents and their players, because they are performing well and scoring goals. But we are ready.”

In head-to-head stats, Senegal and Egypt have met in 12 matches across all competitions dating back as far as 1986. The Pharaohs have claimed six wins compared to four for the Teranga Lions, while two games have been drawn.

The teams’ most recent meetings were in the qualifiers for the 2015 AFCON, with Senegal winning 2-0 in Dakar in September 2014 and 1-0 in Cairo in November 2014 – Mame Biram Diouf (two) and Sadio Mane shared the three goals for the West Africans.

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