Senegal will take on Sudan in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualification Group A match at the Stade Léopold Sédar Senghor in Dakar today.
The Lions of Teranga extended their winless run to three games in all competitions when they surprisingly drew 2-2 with Madagascar away in their previous Group A match last month.
The draw left the West African giants placed at the top of the group standings with four points from two games. They are only above second-placed Madagascar on goal difference.
Senegal captain Cheikhou Kouyate has stressed the importance of securing a victory against the Falcons of Jediane.
“We will not hide – we will play a difficult game. It’s up to us to please our fans because we come a long way with them,” Kouyate said.
“After elimination in the first round of the (FIFA 2018) World Cup, we want to start on a new foundation. But we will not succeed by talking.
“We must work. The Senegalese (people) are frustrated with our performance which we have displayed. Now we want to make a difference. It starts with a victory on Saturday.”
Aliou Cisse’s side will look to Liverpool FC forward Sadio Mane, who has the ability to inspire Senegal to victory against a struggling Sudan side.
Meanwhile, Sudan remain winless in Group A having lost 1-0 to Equatorial Guinea away in their previous game last month.
The defeat left the East African side placed fourth in the group standings without a single point from two games. They are three points behind third-placed Equatorial Guinea.
Sudan head coach Zdravko Logarusic has insisted that his side will play without pressure against a much-fancied Senegal side.
“It’s football, anything is possible, but we know that Sudan’s chances are minimal. We are aware that Senegal are the favourites, but we will do our best to honour ourselves,” Logarusic said.
“We are here to enjoy without any pressure. It’s a chance for my players to play against such a big team like Senegal. My players will have fun.
“We will fight to represent Sudan with dignity. Now, if the results arefavourable to us, we will be much happier – all of our players are locals, we have no foreign-based players.”
The Falcons of Jediane will look to their inspirational captain Muhannad El Tahir, who netted against Madagascar in the 2019 AFCON qualifier last year.
The return leg between Senegal and Sudan will be played at the Khartoum Stadium in Khartoum next week Tuesday.