Senegal eager to impress on return to Cup of Nations

Senegal comes into the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations with “ambition” as they look to finally get their hands on the continental crown, coach Alain Giresse said on Sunday.

“We have ambition and want to put in good performances but only what happens on the field will decide how far we can go,” Giresse told journalists ahead of his side’s Group C opener against Ghana in Mongomo on Monday.

Senegal are desperate to impress after losing all three games in the group stage in 2012 and then failing to qualify for the 2013 finals.

However, they will also come up against South Africa and Algeria in a section that could hardly have been more challenging for the Lions of Teranga.

Giresse added: “It has been described as the most difficult group. There are three teams who finished top of their (qualifying) group, and two who were at the World Cup.

“Ghana are one of the best teams on the continent, that’s the way it is at every CAN.

“The Ghanaians did well at the last World Cup and they almost reached the semi-finals in 2010.

“Their current team are among the favourites, although recently the favourites have not won the CAN.

“It is a strange competition, different to the World Cup where it is often the favourites who are there at the end.”

Meanwhile, Frenchman Giresse indicated that the Senegalese delegation were pleasantly surprised with the facilities they have found in Mongomo amid widespread concerns about inadequate accommodation.

“We are adapting to the conditions that are absolutely fine, from the accommodation to the training facilities.

“We were worried after our first visit here, but we have been reassured since our arrival this time.”

Photo Credits : AFP

Five Africa Cup of Nations facts

Five Africa Cup of Nations facts ahead of 2015 tournament in Equatorial Guinea:

Former Ivory Coast star Laurent Pokou is the only player to score five goals in a game. He scored once in the first half and another four after half-time in the 6-1 Group A rout of Ethiopia during the 1970 tournament in Sudan.

Tunisia will make a 12th consecutive appearance at the tournament this year in Equatorial Guinea, but non-qualifiers Egypt hold the record with 14 straight showings between 1984 and 2010 that delivered five titles.

Group D rivals Cameroon and Ivory Coast have clashed seven times in previous tournaments with the Indomitable Lions holding a distinct edge having won five of the matches and drawn the other two.

Former Egypt midfielder Ahmed Hassan is the only star to win the MVP (Most Valuable Player) award twice having got the nod in 2006 and 2010 after helping the Pharaohs win those tournaments.

Only two nations have lifted the trophy without conceding a goal — Alain Gouamene of the Ivory Coast kept five clean sheets in 1992 and Alioum Boukar of Cameroon was unbeaten in six matches 10 years later.

Photo Credits : AFP