It is not by surprise that the top three ranked African teams (as per FIFA ranking of June 14th) Senegal, Tunisia and Nigeria have made it to the semi finals.
Algerian players celebrate a goal
Total Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) enters the semi final stage this afternoon
with Senegal taking on Tunisia and the Super Eagles of Nigeria battling the in-form
Desert Fennecs of Algeria.
It is not by
surprise that the top three ranked African teams (as per FIFA ranking of June
14th) Senegal, Tunisia and Nigeria have made it to the semi finals.
Champions League winner with Liverpool Sadio Mane with three goals already to
his name in the tournament will lead the Lions of Teranga to try and rewrite
history since they have never lifted the trophy.
To reach the
semi final Senegal defeated Benin at the quarter final stage 1-0. They saw off
Uganda 1-0 in the Group of 16 after beating both Kenya and Tanzania in the
Group and falling 1-0 to Algeria.
Cisse, the Senegal coach told URN that they cannot underrate the Tunisian team
because they have the experience.
“We need to try to take our chances because
scoring first in a knock out game is very important,” he added.
Eagles of Tunisia who did not win any game in the Group stage but managed to
eject Ghana in the Group of 16 on penalties and saw off Madagascar 3-0 at the
quarter final stage are also hungry to prove a point.
Over 1000 Tunisians have
already arrived in Cairo to support the team at the 30 June Stadium.
Senegal’s players very well because I coached them before as coach of Senegal.
But on the pitch it will be something else because we want to continue our
adventure till the final of the AFCON,” said Tunisia’s coach Alain Giresse.
last meetings in previous AFCONs Senegal and Tunisia have each won a game,
while the three others ended in draws.
second semi final at the Cairo International Stadium it promises to be another
thriller. Algeria cheered on by over 3000 fans are favorites as they are the
only team that are yet to suffer defeat and have only conceded one goal.
Led by the
gifted Sofiane Feghouli and former African Player of the Year and skipper Riyad
Karim Mahrez Algeria have proved to be the best attacking and defending team. Having
scored a record 10 goals and conceded only one going into the semi final clash,
the Desert Fennecs are not a team that can be underrated.
ready and will do our best to win. This is the semifinal so there are no
favorites, the chances are equal,” said Algeria’s coach Djamel Belmadi.
Super Eagles of Nigeria who have not been very convincing but have been getting
the results will be a team to watch because of the high level of motivation in
the team. Already they have been
promised over Shs100 million for every goal scored till the final on top of the
shock 2-0 defeat to debut making Madagascar was a good wake-up call as they have
now improved in their play which saw them fight back to beat Cameroon 3-2 at
the quarter final stage before seeing off South Africa 2-1 in the semis.
Algeria because they have a good team. We are playing against a team which
everyone believes are the best and favorites to lift the Cup,” Nigeria’s coach
Gernot Rohr said ahead of Sunday’s match.
reached the Group of 16 after qualifying out of the Group where they beat DR
Congo 2-0 and drew 1-1 against Zimbabwe. The Cranes went on to fall 2-0 to
Egypt in the last Group A game and fell 1-0 to Senegal in the Group of 16.