The Young Os Mambas of Mozambique will be back in action on Wednesday when they face Group A leaders Senegal at the Cairo International Stadium.
The COSAFA runners-up held hosts Egypt in the opening match of the on-going tournament but admit the clash with Senegal will be much tougher.
Mozambique coach Dario Monteiro says the match against Malick Daf’s Cubs will be a huge challenge for his side as they seek their first win of the TotalEnergies U-20 Africa Cup of Nations.
“A big challenge awaits us in front of a strong team whose first match we watched,” the Os Mambas coach said.
The Young Teranga Lions of Senegal opened their account with a narrow 1-0 victory over record champions Nigeria to occupy top spot and Monteiro expects a tough contest.
“We will be playing our second match in the tournament against a strong team, but we believe in our chances and we will play to win,” Monteiro told journalists in Tuesday’s pre-match press conference.
Dario says his team will battle to achieve their objectives in the tournament while reaffirming Mozambique’s chances of progressing to the latter stages.
“No one can predict the future, but we have ambitions and chances that we will fight for in the competition.”
The three-time finalists, Senegal, are at the summit of Group A following their hard fought 1-0 victory over seven-time champions Nigeria at the Cairo International Stadium in their opening match on Sunday.
A win in Wednesday’s game will secure their place in the last 16 which will keep them on the path of emulating others national teams in their country following recent successes.
Souleymane Faye secured Senegal the important victory over Nigeria as they seek to follow in the footsteps of the Beach Soccer national team, the senior Teranga Lions and the local national team in winning a continental title.
The Young Teranga Lions coach Malick Daf says his team will be focused on qualifying to the quarter-finals of the TotalEnergies U-20 Africa Cup of Nations when they play Mozambique on Wednesday.
“We will strive to win and qualify early to relieve the pressure on us and rest some of the players.
“We are preparing for all the teams with full focus and full strength. The victory in the first match against Nigeria will only increase their concentration and strength.”
The Senegalese team has in their ranks some members of their successful TotalEnergies African Nations Championship team like RS Berkane midfielder Mamadou Lamine Camara.
A win against the Young Os Mambas will qualify Senegal to the last eight of the tournament with a game to spare.
Os Mambas possible starting lineup – Fazito (GK); Atilio, Ezequiel, Aylton Messias, Cleyd Tropa; Calilo Traore, Ze Zavala, Antonio Sumbane; Julio Carrelo, Angelo Cantolo, Edson Mucuana
Teranga Lions possible starting lineup – Landing Badji (GK); Amidou, Ndiaye, Sano, Basse; Diallo, Mamadou Camara, Lamine Camara, Samba Diallo; Souleymane, Pape Demba
Mozambique Os Mambas vs Senegal Teranga Lions prediction
Mozambique lost its entire Group A games in the last edition in Mauritania going home with no point. In their last 3 appearances, they’ve reached the knockout stages just once and that was in 1987, when Mauritius withdrew from the First Round and they ultimately withdrew allowing Somalia to sail through to the semi-finals. They earned a credible draw last time out against Egypt. They will have to improve their chances of qualification by getting at least a draw.
Senegal had a wonderful run in the 2019 tournament topping Group B with 9 points, beating South Africa in the semis before losing on penalties to Mali 2-3. It was the 3rd consecutive time they were beaten finalists after losing to Zambia and Nigeria. Though they didn’t qualify for the last tournament, Senegal has made their ambitions known by beating pre-tournament favourites and 18th time appearance holder, Nigeria. Can they go one better by ensuring qualification for the next round today?