Senegal are eyeing their first ever Africa Cup of Nations trophy. Coach Aliou Cisse has a number of top-class players to choose from, but his men will have to prove their worth on the field.
Many people believe that the time has come for Senegal to go all the way at the showpiece tournament and the fact that they kicked off their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations campaign with a routine 2-0 win over Tanzania is surely giving fans a reason for optimism.
Mane is back
Despite the fact that Sadio Mane missed the Tanzania game through suspension, Senegal totally outplayed debutants Tanzania in Cairo. The Liverpool superstar, who helped the Reds clinch the Champions League trophy earlier this term, returns to contention against Algeria, and all eyes will be on him when the two countries face each other in the Group C derby.
The pacey attacker has netted 16 goals in 60 appearances for the Lions of Teranga and given his successful 2018/2019 season, he is widely expected to shine at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. You should bear in mind that Sadio Mane is 11/1 at 888sport to win the Golden Boot Award at the 2019 tournament.
Over the years Kalidou Koulibaly has established himself as one of the best defenders in the world. His brilliant displays in the last few Serie A campaigns have led to persevering speculation linking him with a move away from Napoli. Koulibaly’s performances at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations could be the key to Senegal’s success at the tournament in Egypt, but the bad news for the Lions of Teranga is that fellow centre-back Salif Sane suffered a serious injury in the Group C opener.
Anyhow, Senegal defenders did well to prevent Tanzania attackers from shooting on target in the 30 June Air Defence Stadium clash. Considering that they managed to keep six clean sheets in previous seven games in all competitions, Aliou Cisse’s men are likely to rely on their rock-solid defence in the remainder of the tournament.
Aliou Cisse has been in charge of the Senegal national team since March 2015. The 43-year-old tactician, who has 35 caps for the Lions of Teranga, is eager to win the silverware in his second spell with the national team. Back in 2002 Aliou Cisse made it to the Africa Cup of Nations final as a player, but Senegal were more than unfortunate not to win their first ever trophy at the African Championship.
The Lions of Teranga were beaten by Cameroon on penalties in the title game of the 2002 tournament, but seeing that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, Aliou Cisse is undisputedly capable of leading the Senegalese national team to the Africa Cup of Nations title at the tournament in Egypt.
Key players in their prime
A number of Senegal players are in the form of their lives. Aliou Cisse counts on players aged from 25 to 29, meaning that the Lions of Teranga will not have a better chance than this to lift the trophy. Sadio Mane turned 27 on April 10, whilst fellow aforementioned star player Kalidou Koulibaly is only one year older (28) than the Liverpool ace.
Bright future is ahead of Inter midfielder Keita Balde (24), who scored a beautiful goal in the 2-0 win over Tanzania, whilst Premier League ace Idrissa Gueye has reached his full potential recently. First-choice shot-stopper Edouard Mendy was in a splendid form in the 2018/2019 season as he managed to keep 14 clean sheets with Reims in the French top flight. The 27-year-old goalkeeper has been making steady progress year by year and, as a result, he is expected to play an important role in Aliou Cisse’s team at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
Betting Odds on Senegal
Considering that Senegal made a flying start to their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations campaign, Aliou Cisse’s troops are seen as the main favourites to clinch top position in Group C.
The Lions of Teranga are 8/15 at Betfair to win the group, whilst bookies offer odds of 4/1 at Betway for Sadio Mane and Co. To lift the trophy at this summer’s tournament in Egypt. Speaking of the home country, the Pharaohs are 10/3 at William Hill to win their eighth title at the Afcon.
You can check out remaining outright odds at Surebet247.