El Hadji Diouf: Senegal must accept underdog status against Cote d’Ivoire

The former Teranga Lions captain says the team must prepare with humility their 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying clash against the Elephants to expect a breakthrough

The forthcoming 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between Cote D’Ivoire and Senegal is now talk of town in Dakar, with a number of sport editorialists confident their team could topple the Elephants and qualify for the showpiece, but former Senegal international El Hadji Diouf tells everyone back home it’s too early to dream of South Africa 2013.

In a statement published by Senegal News Agence APS on Thursday, the 31-year-old two-time African footballer of the year admonished coach Joseph Koto and his players to be coolheaded and consider themselves underdogs against the Ivorian team.

“Cote D’Ivoire are the best at the moment on the continent. The team is above every other here. Senegal need to go into this confrontation with humility, caution and not with arrogance,” the former Liverpool forward said.

“The Ivorians have quality and experience unlike the Senegalese, and this will make it difficult for us, but I’m not saying it’s impossible. What I’m asking is for the team to be more than hundred per cent prepared and be humble, and not thinking we’ll get there easily,” Diouf said.

Both teams were pitted against each other during the draw for the second and final qualifying round of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, with the Ivorians hosting the first leg on September 7 and the return set for October 12 in Dakar.