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Profiling the AFCON teams: Senegal

Senegal have never won the Africa Cup of Nations. (PHOTOS/AGENCIES)

Senegal will be featuring in their 15th Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament and their third in a row since 2015.  They are arguably the best African side to never win an AFCON title.

In the 2019 edition, Senegal is in Group C alongside Algeria, Kenya and Tanzania.

Senegal did not enter into qualification for the first four AFCON tournaments between 1957-1963.

Senegal’s maiden appearance at the finals was impressive as they negotiated through the 1965 Group A alongside leaders and hosts Tunisia. However, they would go on to lose 0-1 to Ivory Coast in the third place playoff game.

In the next edition in Ethiopia, the Lions Teranga could not replicate the 1965 form, finishing third in Group B, behind Congo-Kinshasha and Ghana.

For the next 15 years, Senegal would either not enter into qualification or failed to reach the finals.

Their next participation at the finals was in Egypt 86 but it was short-lived as Senegal could not get past the group stages. Despite winning two of their three group games, the Lions of Teranga finished third in Group A, bowing out because of scoring one goal less than Ivory Coast.

In 1988, Senegal once again failed to qualify for the AFCON finals in Morocco. Algeria 90 would however see Senegal replicate their best finish at the finals. After finishing second in Group B, Senegal lost 1-2 to Algeria in the semis, before losing 0-1 to Zambia in the third place playoff game.

The next two editions (92&94), would see the Lions of Teranga get eliminated at the quarter-finals stage after making it through the respective groups.

For 96 and 98 editions, Senegal would fail to qualify for the finals. Their next appearance came in AFCON 2000, where they lost to hosts Nigeria in the quarterfinals.

With what is always termed as the ‘Golden Generation’ of Senegalese football, Senegal would produce their best ever finish at the finals, finishing as runners ups. With the likes of El Hadj Diouf, Pap Diop, Khalil Fadiga, Amdy Faye, Aliou Cisse and Tony Silva, Senegal topped Group D which contained Egypt, Tunisia and Zambia. They went on to beat DR Congo 2-0 and Nigeria in the quarters and semis respectively.

Senegal then faced defending champions Cameroon in the final. After 120 minutes of no goals, Senegal missed three penalties in the shoot-out, losing 2-3 in the end.

Senegal lost their only final to Cameroon in 2002.

The 2002 heroics would not be replicated the following edition as the Lions of Teranga were eliminated by hosts Tunisia in an ill-tempered encounter.

A fourth-placed finish in 2006 was then followed up with a Group stage elimination and then failing to reach the finals in 2008 and 2010 respectively.

Senegal would then return to the finals of 2012 where they once again failed to make it past the groups. In 2013, Senegal failed to reach the finals of African football showpiece.

The Lions of Teranga once again bounced back and made it to Equatorial Guinea 2015 where they were placed in group C alongside Ghana, Algeria and South Africa. A win, draw and loss meant that Senegal was eliminated at the group stages, after finishing third.

Senegal’s last show came in Gabon 2017. In a group which also featured Tunisia, Algeria and Zimbabwe, the Lions of Teranga won two games and drew the other to finish in top spot.

At the quarters is however where their journey would end. After a 0-0 draw in 120 minutes with Cameroon, Sadio Mane missed Senegal’s last spot kick in sudden death to see his side lose 4-5.

Coach

Aliou Cisse

Cissé, 43, is a Senegalese coach and former player who has been in charge of the Senegal Men’s national team since 2015.

Cisse took over as Senegal head coach in 2015.

Having begun his career in France, he later played for English clubs Birmingham City and Portsmouth. Cissé was a defensive midfielder who also, on occasion, played at centre back.  

In early March 2015, Cissé was officially appointed as the head coach for the Senegal national team. The team qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup on 10 November 2017, with a 0–2 away win against South Africa. Ultimately, Senegal were knocked out in the group stage of the tournament after becoming the first team in FIFA World Cup history to be eliminated due to fair play tiebreaker rules.

Star Player

Sadio Mane

Mane is a 27-year-old attacker who plays for Premier League side Liverpool. He started out at French side Metz in 2011/12 before switching to RB Salzburg the following season.

From there, he joined the Premier League, first featuring for Southampton before joining Liverpool.

At Liverpool, he has just won the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League, the club’s first since 2015. Mane has previously been voted in the Premier League team of the season twice and is the current Golden Boot holder of the English top flight after scoring 22 goals last season.

Mana scored 22 League goals last season.

Mane has scored over 140 goals for club and country so far.

Projection: Semi finals

Senegal Fixtures at AFCON 2019

-Senegal vs Tanzania, 23nd June

-Senegal vs Algeria, 27th June

-Kenya vs Senegal, 01th July

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