Two-time CAF Player of the Year El Hadji Diouf has tipped his country Senegal ahead of the likes of Nigeria, Egypt, Cameroon and other African football heavyweights as favourites for this year’s AFCON.
The Teranga Lions go into the 2021 AFCON as the number one ranked side in Africa and one of the favourites.
Despite producing some of the best talents on the continent, Senegal are yet to win the AFCON.
In their two AFCON final appearances in 2002 and 2019, they lost to Cameroon and Algeria respectively.
And ahead of this year’s edition Diouf is confident Senegal, who will parade the likes of Sadio Mane, Edourd Mendy, Idrissa Gueye, will get it right this time.
“My first favorite is Senegal, who lost last edition final to Algeria, and today we must win,” the former Liverpool star was quoted on cafonline.com.
“Anything we do without winning the trophy will be failure. There are other great teams, and it will be a very tough competition, perhaps the toughest in recent years and in a country that loves football. It would be a big football party.“
On his first memory of AFCON, the 40-year-old said:“My first memory was in Egypt 1986. I was very young, but I still remember how this competition went. It was the talk of the whole country, and I remember that we were made to pay a small symbolic contribution to accompany the Lions. Everyone felt concerned, it was really everyone’s business, great moments of national communion. It was really a beautiful memory. I understood later the popularity of this Africa Cup of Nations was because Senegal had gone 17 years without playing in it.”
And on why Senegal are yet to become African champions:“It’s hard. When you look at the generations, the talents that have come and gone in the national team, it’s unbelievable that we haven’t yet managed to win this trophy. But I am convinced when Senegal wins their first trophy, then it would be very difficult to dislodge them from the top. Now it is clear that to overcome this jinx, we need solidarity. We need everyone, no one should be put aside. Often there is a lack of national unity around the team. Moreover, I am surprised that currently in Senegal there is lack of enthusiasm. We do not have the feeling that the national team will take part in the Africa Cup of Nations, it is not the case with Cameroon and other countries. We certainly need to change our mindset as spectators and become real supporters.”
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