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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2019: Senegal's football is evolving - Coach Aliou Cisse

5:09 PM MYT 12/07/2019
Aliou Cisse - Senegal
The Teranga Lions are aiming for their first title in the continental tournament in Egypt and the 43-year-old boss is fully committed to the dream

Senegal coach Aliou Cisse has insisted his side will remain focused when they take on Tunisia in the semi-final of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) on Sunday.

The Carthage Eagles set up a date with the Teranga Lions, following their 3-0 victory over Madagascar in the quarter-final on Thursday.

The Teranga Lions reached the last four of the continental tournament for the first time in 13 years after their fourth-placed finish in 2006.

Having failed to win the African title in their previous appearances in the competition, Cisse believes his side will not lose focus as they aim for glory in Egypt.

“Tunisia are a good team who do good things. We won’t underestimate anyone and we won’t lack concentration,” Cisse told Goal.

“We’ll take points as they come. There are still two matches. We came here with ambition, we hoped to play the quarter-final, we’ll keep our feet on the ground.

“Since 2006, we didn’t reach this level. It’s been 13 years Senegal haven’t been here, it’s already a progression.

“We’ll have more humility. I believe these are great professionals. I’ve always been confident in the work we’re doing.”

Cisse helped the Teranga Lions qualify for the 2018 Fifa World Cup for the first time since 2002. 

The West Africans also failed to qualify for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations and were eliminated in the group stage of the 2015 edition before Cisse helped them to reach the quarter-final of the 2017 edition.

“It’s been more than 17 years that Senegal hadn’t competed at the World Cup, it had been two finals they hadn’t got out of the group. In 2017 we did,” he continued.

“We haven’t reached this far since 2006, so yes, it’s an evolution, we’re improving step by step.”

Rennes striker Mbaye Niang has failed to find the back of the net in the competition, despite playing for 397 minutes in five games for the Teranga Lions.

“I called up 23 players and included Mbaye - I know what he can do, what he’s capable of - he didn’t score, but you can’t forget everything [he is doing].”