By Afeseh Apong
▪️ Cissé says he has never doubted the capabilities of his team
▪️ Insists they want to be part of that generation that will finally win Senegal’s first AFCON trophy
The head coach of the Teranga Lions of Senegal Aliou Cissé, has spoken confidently about his sides desire to win their first ever AFCON trophy.
Senegal and Burkina Faso will square up in the first semi final game of the 2021 Africa Nations Cup on Wednesday at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde, Cameroon, with both sides have the opportunity to secure a place for the grand finale scheduled for Sunday February 06, at the Olembe Stadium.
Aliou Cissé was one of Senegal’s center back when they lost the final of the 2002 edition to the indomitable lions of Cameroon in Mali, and led his country again to the final final of the 2019 edition in Egypt, this time around as head coach, though they still fell short of clinching the silverware, as they were outsmarted by Algeria.
“We have been running behind this trophy since 1960 and we have not had it even with very good generation of players who have passed but we will fight and be part of that generation that will make it happen,” Aliou Cissé said during his pre_match press conference at the Yaounde Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium on Tuesday.
“Tomorrow we have a big game and it is these kind of matches that brought us here. It is these kind of moments that we want to live when you’re Coach or player. It is left to us to be serene and stay focused.
“Where I am today, I’m thinking of how to give my all to past this semi final stage. The 2002 generation did not win, but we can not undermine the joy they gave to our people. We have been working to win the trophy for years now and I think that we’re close to it . We have hopes that they star is coming and it will be in Cameroon, inshallah,” Aliou added.
Burkina Faso who themselves have never tasted AFCON glory, are now the standing block between Senegal and another attempt to challenge for glory, but Aliou Cissé sees light at the end of the tunnel.
“We are at the semi final of the AFCON, and the four teams left, they fought had to be there. We know it will be a difficult game but we’re ready.
Senegal and Burkina Faso have faced each other 12 times in all competitions, with the Teranga Lions winning three, two wins for the Stallions and a whopping seven draws.
“Burkina Faso is a very good team. They were part of our group during the world cup qualifiers in 2018. We played draw games with them home and away. The team has changed, the likes of Kabore, Bance who were there during that period are no longer there, but there’s a new generation that is coming up and are very promising. Coach Malo is doing a great job, I want to congratulate him because since he took over the team has been progressing.” Aliou admitted Burkina Faso being a hard nut to crack.
Senegal started the competition on a slow pace, winning just one game at the group stage, two draws and one goal scored. Their impressive wins against Cape Verde and Equatorial Guinea in the round of 16 and quarter final respectively, as shown signs of work in progress, and a lion hungry for victory. The tactician added that his teams capabilities was never in doubt.
“We have never doubted what we are capable of doing. We know who we are and like I said two weeks ago we came here with a certitude. The objective was to play seven games and now we have the opportunity to play seven matches. We want to play the final and not the third place game.
The present Senegalese squad is probably one of the most talented in the continent, with high profile players like Kalidou Koulibaly, Chelsea’s Edward Mendy, Sadio mane, Bouna Saar, Gana Gaye amongst others. It is time for this Golden generation, to re_write the wrongs of the previous generations.
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