Senegal’s national football team, led by their captain Sadio Mane, is bracing for a challenging journey in the upcoming TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations, Cote d’Ivoire 2023. Mane, recognized as a key figure in the team, has expressed that this edition of the tournament is anticipated to be the most demanding compared to its predecessors. The Teranga Lions, the defending champions, are set to confront a formidable challenge in their quest to retain the title.
In the competition, Senegal finds itself in a particularly tough group, often referred to as the “group of death.” They will face off against strong teams including Cameroon, Guinea, and The Gambia in Group C. Mane, reflecting on the group’s difficulty, acknowledges the heightened level of competition. He notes that all the prominent African teams have qualified, each with aspirations to excel in the tournament.
For Mane, who is 31 years old, winning the AFCON title again would hold special significance. He regards the AFCON trophy as one of the most prestigious awards he has secured in his illustrious career. Repeating this success, according to him, would not only be a personal milestone but also a significant achievement for Senegalese football. Mane emphasizes the importance of the tournament in his career and the impact a victory would have, considering Senegal’s history of success in various football categories.
The Teranga Lions are scheduled to start their title defense against The Gambia on 15 January. This will be followed by a crucial match against Cameroon, known as the Indomitable Lions, three days later. Their final match in the group stage will be against Guinea on 23 January. These matches will take place at the Stade Charles Konan Banny Stadium in Yamoussoukro, which is also set to host a Round of 16 and quarter-final matches of the tournament.