Senegal vs Tanzania
30 June Air Defence Stadium, Cairo
Sunday, 23-06-2019 @8pm
CAIRO – Senegal will be without Sadio Mane when they take on Tanzania at the 30 June Air Defence Stadium in their group B opening game on Sunday evening.
The Champions League winners is suspended after picking up two yellow cards in the qualifiers but Lions of Teranga, head coach Aliou Cisse says his side will not be bothered by Mane’s absence.
“His absence should not in any way bother us,” stressed Cisse.
“Certainly the presence of Sadio is beneficial, but without him we remain strong.
Even without Mane, Senegal head into the game as strong favourites as they still boost one of the most devastating forward lines.
With the likes of Balde Keita, M’Baye Niang and Ismaila Sarr, the Lions of Teranga will surely be too much for Tanzania.
For the tournament proper, Senegal are also one of the favourites to win it.
However, they have never won it before with their best showing coming at the 2004 edition where they finished as runners ups to Cameroon.
The Lions made it this far with five wins in six qualifiers, scoring 12 goals and conceding only two in that time.
They have a well-marshalled defence which includes Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly and that should help them to a strong start here.
For Tanzania, they have made it to this tournament for only the second time, after taking up a place in 1980 edition.
They head into the 24 team tournament aiming to better their group stage exit in that edition, but do they have the required talent?
The Taifa Stars do have some decent options within this squad, but this is the first fixture for them to start with. They are incredibly outmatched compared to one of the strongest – if not the strongest – group of players on the continent.
Tanzania made the finals thanks to finishing second behind Uganda, edging out Lesotho and Cape Verde.
It’s not the most impressive list of sides that they’ve seen off to make it here, while the gulf in class between those teams and Senegal is huge.
These two teams have met just once so far. The sole game came ten years back, in the African Nations Championship Round 1 with Senegal winning it 1-0.
The other games on Sunday
-Morocco vs Namibia @5:30pm
-Algeria vs Kenya @11pm