Africa Cup of Nations 2019: Senegal Football Team | Final Squad, Preview, Predictions
Senegal will begin their Africa Cup of Nations campaign on June 23 and has a golden opportunity to make a mark on the international stage. They have never managed to win the AFCON but emerged as runners-up to Cameroon in the 2002 edition of the tournament. That has been their best finish so far.
The Lions of Teranga confirmed their participation for this year's competition in style, garnering 16 points out of the possible 18 in their qualification group comprising of Madagascar, Equatorial Guinea, and Sudan.
Senegal began their qualification phase with a convincing 3-0 triumph over Equatorial Guinea and ended their qualificationcampaign in a similar fashion, winning 2-0 against Madagascar.
During a friendly against Mali in March, Aliou Cisse's men lacked rhythm and cohesion. They conceded the first goal in the 72nd minute. However, late strikes from Sadio Mane and Pape Moussa Konate ensured a comeback victory for the Senegalese. Senegal will be in action on June 16 against Nigeria before the AFCON begins.
Senegal is placed in Group C alongside Algeria, Kenya, and Tanzania. Their current squad has many players who can perform and is tipped to be a strong team.
Goalkeepers: Abdoulaye Diallo, Alfred Gomis, Edouard Mendy
Defenders: Moussa Wague, Pape Abou Cisse, Salif Sane, Youssouf Sabaly, Lamine Gassama, Kalidou Koulibaly, Saliou Ciss, Cheikhou Kouyate
Midfielders: Alfred N'diaye, Santy Ngom, Idrissa Gana Gueye, Krepin Diatta, Pape Alioune Ndiaye, Sidy Sarr, Henri Saivet
Forwards: Ismaila Sarr, Keita Balde, M'Baye Niang, Moussa Konate, Mbaye Diagne, Sada Thioub, Sadio Mane
Kalidou Koulibaly: The 27-year-old's consistent performances for Napoli has helped him to establish himself as one of the best centre-backs in the world. Koulibaly is an epitome of a modern defender, possessing immaculate passing skills and reads opposition's attacking moves with great accuracy.
Senegal's chances in the Africa Cup of Nations depends on how well Koulibaly will organise the team's shape around him.
Sadio Mane: Sadio Mane will captain Senegal in this tournament and Aliou Cisse will be hoping that he replicates his club form for his national side. The 27-year-old won the Premier League's Golden Boot in the 2018/19 season after scoring 22 goals for Liverpool.
With an added responsibility, Mane might be even deadlier in front of goal and will share the attacking responsibilities with Diagne who has scored 30 goals in the Turkish League during the 2018/19 season.
Idrissa Gana Gueye: The onus of leading Lions' midfield will be on Gueye and his combative style of play will provide much-needed purpose to the Senegal side. Gana will play an important part alongside Kouyate to provide a stable defensive shape.
Idrissa averaged 4.3 tackles and 2.2 interceptions for Everton in the Premier League and his defensive instincts will be vital for Aliou Cisse's side in the tournament.
Senegal Football Team AFCON fixtures
Sunday, June 23: Senegal vs Tanzania
Thursday, June 27: Senegal vs Algeria
Tuesday, July 2: Kenya vs Senegal
Published 12 Jun 2019, 22:48 IST