Moussa Sow says Senegal is back to its very best after stunning Ghana with a 2-1 win on Monday in the Africa Cup of Nations.
The Fenerbahce forward struck in stoppage time to snatch the winner for his side, with Ghana star Andre Ayew's early opener having been cancelled out by Mame Biran Diouf's equalizer shortly into the second half.
Sow believes it’s a sign of a rebirth for the Teranga Lions, who crashed out early in the group stage at the 2012 edition and failed to qualify for the last tournament two years ago.
"I feel it’s a sign that our team is back," he told Goal. "Senegal used to be a reputable team on the continent but lost its place after the 2002 generation disintegrated.
"And efforts to reform the outfit all these years had been futile, but now we can sense a new and hopeful beginning for the team."
The principal architect of the new revolution is French coach Alain Giresse, according to Sow. The 62-year-old former midfielder was appointed in 2013 as a replacement for Amara Traore, who was fired after the Lions’ debacle in the 2012 AFCON.
"He is a very experienced coach and knows African football, having managed teams like Gabon and Mali," he added. "He knows how to obtain whatever he wants from the FA without causing an uproar.
"He has been able to integrate young players and they are doing very well. Every team has difficulties - financial, human, etc, but with Giresse, the atmosphere has been cordial."
Sow also says that Diouf's equalizer was key in sparking the win, but that the entire team deserves credit.
"The equalizer on Monday crowned our strong push early into the second half. And it boosted confidence. However, our success over Ghana came through collective efforts.
"And that is what the coach always asks us to do. When your partner misses the ball, you take his place immediately and start chasing until you either recover the ball or hinder the progress of the opposing player."
Senegal will be facing South Africa on Friday for the group’s second match day and Sow warns that the Bafana Bafana challenge could be more vigorous than Ghana’s as they are fighting for their AFCON 2015,
He added: "If South Africa lose to us they are out of the tournament and the way I see things, they wouldn’t accept to crash out at this stage. So, expect them to take up their arms against us."