Senegal making their return to the African Nations Championship (CHAN) scene for the first time in 11 years have reached the quarter-final of the tournament for the first time since 2009.
Ahead of their last eight confrontation against Mauritania their head coach Pape Thiam has briefed the media on what makes their strength as a nation and what to await from his team during the West Africa derby.
“We hope this adventure continues tomorrow. We were outsiders before coming to Algeria. We talked about all of our group opponents. They had a winning pedigree, but we knew our strength and our FA invested a lot in our preparations. We played COSAFA, Islamic games, went to Morocco and more. We finished first in a Group of Death, so we don’t want it to end here.”
“All the trophies we won have been the results of hard work. All is going well because of work. Sadio Mane is loved by everyone because of his hard work and humility. Their generation helped us to improve our mentally. Before penalty shoot-outs trouble us, but they helped us out of that situation with the AFCON win. Our players also qualified through penalties so you see how they helped.”
Senegal beat 2020 bronze medalist Guinea on post-match penalties in their final qualifying tie to reach the finals and while in Algeria the young side have been far from a shy team.
Thiam’s team will be up against a Mauritania side that have their tails up when the kick-off whistle goes at the 19 May 1956 stadium in Annaba, Algeria.
To the former Senegal international and mate of current Teranga Lions boss Aliou Cisse they respect Mauritania but still want to have a run in the competition.
“We know that Mauritania is a very good team and well organised. Their football is progressing but we will do our best to make the people of our country proud,” Thiam saluted their opponents who are unbeaten in nine games under Amir Abdou while urging his boys to make Dakar and the rest of Senegal celebrate.
Being the first quarter-final appearance for the Al Mourabitones and the first CHAN meeting between both nations there will be huge attention on the West African derby with neutrals hoping the game produces as much sparks as previous meetings between both nations in previous events.
Mauratania played a goalless draw draw with Angola and beat last edition’s finalist Mali 1-0 to book this appointment against Senegal who beat Cote D’Ivoire and DR Congo by 1-0 and 3-0 respectively to top Group D and reach only a second quarter-final in history.
The neighbors separated by a few miles will settle their footballing contest from 8PM local time in the presence of thousands of fans who will turn out for the 8PM kick-off.
The winner of the game will face the victorious side from the Madagascar versus Mozambique quarter-final.
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