Senegal and Cameroon give taste test of AFCON 2023

Senegal and Cameroon give taste test of AFCON 2023
Aliou Cisse coach of Senegal

by Staff Reporter

Sunday Oct 15, 2023. 14:01

Two African heavyweights will go head to head when Senegal take on Cameroon in a friendly at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens, France on Monday evening.

Kick-off is at 8.30pm CAT (SA, GMT+2)

The duo are set to lock horns at the continental showpiece after being paired together in Group C with Guinea and Gambia in Thursday’s draw for the group stages.

The Lions of Teranga, who are the defending champions, saw a five-match unbeaten run come to an end when they went down 1-0 to Algeria last month, with Fares Chaïbi’s 64th-minute goal settling the contest in Diamniadio.

Aliou Cisse’s side will only play once this month in the build-up to their first two 2026 World Cup qualifiers against South Sudan and Togo in November before making final preparations for AFCON 2023.

Senegal star Sadio Mane admits the Indomitable Lions will pose a stiff challenge to their bid of topping the group and believes the quality of the competing nations will make it harder than ever to win the tournament.

“It’s a really difficult group. Cameroon is going to be really tough, but we will give our best to go through from the first round,” Mane said after the draw in Abidjan.

“There are no more small teams in Africa. This will be the toughest AFCON in history, and there may be some surprises.”

Cameroon will be looking to build up a head of steam for the 34th edition of AFCON after winning just one of their last five games since the 2022 World Cup.

That solitary victory came last month when Rigobert Song’s side beat Burundi 3-0 to finish top of their group in qualifying for the tournament in Ivory Coast.

However, the Indomitable Lions suffered a 1-0 defeat to Russia in Moscow on Thursday which saw Fedor Chalov score the match-winning goal in the 40th minute.

Andre Onana came out of retirement to feature against the Swallows, although he was left on the bench in the Russian capital following criticism of his recent performances for Manchester United.

Former Inter Milan goalkeeper Onana has committed some high-profile errors for the Red Devils and is rumoured to be considering not going to Ivory Coast in January and February next year in order to focus on United.

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