The stage is set for the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations round of 16 knock out football with Senegal and Cape Verde locking horns in Bafoussam on Tuesday, 25 January 2022.
The Lions of Teranga battle the Blue Sharks in the knockout round of Africa’s greatest Football competition.
Match: Senegal v Cape Verde
Date: 25 January 2022
Time: 7:00 PM (16:00 GMT)
Venue: Kouekong Stadium, Bafoussam
Senegal – Teranga Lions’ new mission
Alio Cisse’s Senegal, tipped to be tournament favorites, are yet to sparkle having only managed one goal in the group stage, collecting one win and two draws. They made it top of Group B with five points.
On a positive note, they are yet to concede a single goal. Credit should go to the defensive discipline led by the Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly and Edouard Mendy, who recently won The Best goalkeeper of the year at the FIFA Awards.
Mendy has been one of Senegal’s key players at the tournament so far. So is Liverpool forward Sadio Mane, whoscored Senegal’s only goal of the tournament which came from the penalty spot in the first group match against Zimbabwe.
Another player that could be key to Senegal’s success in the knockout round is Idrissa Gueye. The Paris Saint-Germain Midfielder has been a regular presence having featured in two matches so far.
What they said
Aliou Cisse (Coach, Senegal)
“We have worked so hard in the past week, and I am happy the players have regained their full confidence as we face a Cape Verde team in a Derby that we want to win. Cape Verde have a wonderful team, but we are more than ready to face them, considering we can always create surprises when we reach this stage. The rest days have given us time to focus as a team. We are very motivated to get a win in what will be a very good game.”
Kalidou Koulibaly (Defender, Senegal)
“We no longer have small teams in Africa and that is why we will go the Derby against Cape Verde very motivated. We accomplished our first mission of going past the group stage, and now we want to reach the ultimate. We are focusing on teamwork as it is going to be a very different match. We want to make our nation happy by winning convincingly to move to the next stage. We intend to give our best in all circumstances while respecting our opponents.”
Cape Verde – Blue Sharks dreaming
Cape Verde enter the game with no pressure, as all the expectations are on their opponents’ shoulders.
Their performance was remarkable, having picked up four points in the group. A win against Ethiopia was followed by a loss to Burkina Faso. The Blue Sharks rounded off their Group matches with a 1-1 draw against hosts Cameroon. Four points were enough for the Island nation to seal a place in the knockout phase.
Head coach Pedro Leitão Brito will be placing his faith in Júlio Tavares and Garry Rodrigues in getting the goals for his side. The duo has scored Cape Verde’s two goals so far.
What they said
Pedro Brito (Coach, Cape Verde)
“We have worked hard in our training and facing a team like Senegal is an added motivation, because the match is like a Derby. They have to respect us as a team the same way we respect them. The competition has seen a lot of surprises, and we hope to be the other team that will cause an upset as our mission is to win the game and move to the next round.”
Josimar Dias (Goalkeeper, Cape Verde)
“We have been preparing well for such occasions, and even though Senegal is a big team everything will be decided on the pitch. We are motivated and we are not looking at names. We are happy with the underdogs tag because it gives us the morale to fire from all cylinders and surprise Senegal who are well known to us. In the group stage they did not score many goals but we know every game is different.”