Africa Cup of Nations favourites Senegal must take their chance to claim a first major trophy as they prepare to face Cameroon in the quarter-finals, says head coach Aliou Cisse.
The two teams meet in Franceville on Saturday in a match that represents “unfinished business” for Cisse.
As captain, he missed the decisive spot-kick as Senegal lost the 2002 final of the competition to Cameroon on penalties, the closest his country have come to winning an international trophy.
Senegal are favourites to win the tournament this time after topping Group B with seven points and he does not want his players to waste another chance of glory.
“A sense of unfinished business, a job not yet accomplished,” Cisse told AFP ahead of the last-eight tie.
“It is true that every day we say to the players, ‘Don’t make the error that we made’.
“When you have the possibility to write history, it’s now, not tomorrow. In 2002, we were 25, 26 years old and we said to ourselves, ‘No worries, in 2004 we will win it’.
“And we still haven’t won it. It is a regret.”
Cameroon, meanwhile, have not won the title since that success 15 years ago. The Indomitable Lions finished second in Group A despite being without a number of key players for the tournament.
“I’m very happy with what we have achieved so far, as our group-stage matches were tricky,” head coach Hugo Broos told FIFA.
“When you look at teams like Ivory Coast, Algeria and Gabon going out, you have to be pretty satisfied with how we have done.
“Senegal have played really well so far and even thrilled their fans at certain points, but we are going to prepare as best we can so that we can reach the semi-finals.
“It is okay to dream [of winning the tournament], but we have to keep our feet on the ground and focus on our next match.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Senegal – Sadio Mane
Sadio Mane has scored twice for Senegal at the tournament, netting the crucial first goal in his side’s matches against Tunisia and Zimbabwe.
The Liverpool winger, Balde Keita, Mame Biram Diouf and Moussa Sow give Senegal an attack few teams at the tournament can match.
Cameroon – Benjamin Moukandjo
Cameroon’s stand-in captain Benjamin Moukandjo is one of the Indomitable Lions’ star names and will have to shine if his team are to cause an upset.
A starter in each of their first three matches and a scorer in the opening-match draw with Burkina Faso, the Lorient attacker then went on to grab an assist in the victory over Guinea-Bissau.
KEY OPTA STATS:
– Senegal have a slight advantage in the overall head-to-head record against Cameroon; five wins for Senegal and four for Cameroon (five draws).
– This fixture is not the first time these sides have met in an AFCON quarter-final, Cameroon winning an encounter at this stage of the competition against Senegal in 1992 (1-0).
– Cameroon have gone unbeaten (W1, D2) in the group stages of an AFCON for the first time since 2006 (W3). However, they were kn
ocked out of that competition in the next round (quarter-final v Ivory Coast).
– Senegal recorded two wins and a draw in this year’s group stage. They have never had a better record during the group stages of this competition (also W2, D1 in 2002).
– Senegal have failed to progress in four of their six quarter-finals in the Africa Cup of Nations (all settled in 90 minutes) whilst Cameroon have not managed to progress from three of their last four at this stage.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!