AFCON 2023: Senegal ready for fierce competition in Côte d’Ivoire


The reigning champions of the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations, Senegal, have arrived in Côte d’Ivoire full of optimism, with their captain, Kalidou Koulibaly, declaring the 2023 edition could be the best in the tournament’s history.

The Lions of Teranga, who have been to two consecutive finals, are preparing to defend their crown in what is anticipated to be a fiercely competitive group stage.

Touching down in Yamoussoukro, where they will be stationed for their Group C fixtures, the Senegalese team is acutely aware of the heightened challenge ahead.

They find themselves in a formidable group that includes five-time winners Cameroon, The Gambia, and Guinea, each presenting a significant obstacle to Senegal’s championship defense.

Koulibaly, speaking from the team’s base camp, expressed his belief in the quality of the competition.

“I think that the Côte d’Ivoire edition will be the best in the history of the competition because all the big teams are present and are fully prepared. It will show the true image of African football, and I think that whoever wins the title in the end will deserve it,” said the Senegal captain.

The strength of the teams in the 2023 AFCON is a testament to the growing depth of talent across African nations. With such a strong field, the Lions of Teranga will need to muster all their skill and unity to emerge victorious again.

Koulibaly’s call to the fans underscores the significance of national support in their quest. “I ask the Senegalese fans to be behind us during the competition and to pray for us in their prayers. Their support we will take us far in the competition, and we will represent them well and give them a big gift in the end.”

Senegal’s campaign begins with a match against Gambia on January 15th, a contest that is expected to be as much about regional pride as it is about tournament progression. This will be followed by a “battle of the lions” against Cameroon, a match-up that will have all the intensity of a heavyweight contest, before they conclude the group stage against Guinea on January 23rd.

The Lions of Teranga are not just aiming to retain the title; they are looking to cement their legacy as one of the greatest teams in the continent’s football history. As they embark on this journey, the weight of expectation is matched only by their determination to rise to the occasion and showcase the best of African football on the world stage.

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