Senegal coach Aliou Cisse has insisted that the Terenga Lions are not afraid to play any opposition in the forthcoming 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
The West Africans have been drawn along with familiar foes, Algeria, and East African countries Kenya and Tanzania in Group C.
The Terenga Lions are hoping to surpass their last performance in the competition in Gabon in 2017, where they were eliminated by Cameroon at the quarter-final stage.
The closest they have come to winning the Afcon title was in 2002 when they finished as runners-up to the Indomitable Lions, and Cisse has vowed to approach their time in Egypt match-by-match as he sets his target at the finals
“It is a balanced group for my team. Currently, there are no more small or big teams. All qualified teams will be in Egypt to fight and try to achieve the best possible result,” he told the CAF website.
“We will have with us Algeria, a regular at this event, and also Kenya and Tanzania. We cannot underestimate Kenya and Tanzania despite their status. We must also prepare well to properly approach the competition.
“We will take it game by game because we know that anything can happen. It is true that we are one of the favourites, but to reach that level we will have to beat everyone, and it will begin with Tanzania on June 23rd. We must focus on our abilities and not think of our opponents.”
Senegal will be meeting Algeria for the third time in the continental tournament, having previously met in 2015, when the Desert Foxes defeated the Terenga Lions 2-0 before they drew 2-2 in their last encounter in Gabon.
“As fate would have it, it is the third consecutive time that we will play Algeria at the group stage. We played against each other in 2015 (Equatorial Guinea), 2017 (Gabon), and in Egypt, our paths will cross again,” he continued.
“It is a long history between the two teams. Algeria has improved with the arrival of Djamel Belmadi, who is my friend. We grew up in the same neighbourhood in Paris.
“It will be a beautiful battle. Senegal and Algeria are the favourites of this group, but Kenya and Tanzania should not be underestimated. I can tell you, Senegal is not afraid of any team today.”