June 14, 2021

Former Liverpool player Diouf reveals Senegal need ‘belief’ to win Africa Cup of Nations

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The Teranga Lions are yet to clinch the continental trophy in their history and the 40-year-old feels it is time they won

Former Liverpool forward El Hadji Diouf has revealed Senegal need to believe in their own ability in order to win the Africa Cup of Nations.

The Teranga Lions came close to winning the tournament twice in 2002 and 2019, losing to Cameroon and Algeria respectively.

Senegal boast top stars in Liverpool forward Sadio Mane, Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly, Crystal Palace’s Cheikhou Kouyate and Watford’s Ismaila Sarr.

The Teranga Lions have secured their place at the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon despite still having two games left to play in the qualifiers.

Diouf has encouraged the current Senegal stars to work hard, have self-belief and strive to clinch the coveted trophy in the next edition of the tournament. 

“To be champions, it is about organisation, hard work and belief,” Diouf told BBC Sport Africa.

“I think what the Senegalese team needs today to be the champions of Africa is to believe. You can have all the talent you want around the world but if you don’t believe in yourself, if you don’t say ‘I’m coming to win this Afcon in Cameroon’, you are never going to do it.

“You have to believe in yourself, work hard and in players like Sadio Mane, we have the key to success.

“They are the best – they have to know they are the best and they have to believe they are the best,” added the two-time African Footballer of the Year.

“The only thing I have to say to them is to think about just one thing: the thing that I missed out on in my career – to be the first Senegal team to win Afcon.”

Senegal will take on the Democratic Republic of Congo and Eswatini in their last Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers later this month.

The Teranga Lions will be making their 16th appearance at the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations since their debut in 1965.

African champions Algeria, Tunisia and Mali have joined host country Cameroon to book their place at the continental showpiece.