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Africa Cup of Nations: Introducing Tanzania’s group-stage opponents

21:10 EAT 13/04/2019
Tanzania get together for a team picture during the 2019 Afcon Qualifiers against Uganda on 08 September 2018 at Mandela Stadium, Namboole, Kampala
The Taifa Stars learned the identities of their three group-stage foe on Friday, but what exactly lies in store?

  • Emmanuel Amuneke Tanzania coach

    Group C

    Tanzania were drawn into Group C of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations during a glamorous draw ceremony on the Giza Plateau, outside Cairo, on Friday.

    Emmanuel Amuneke’s side have been handed a tough draw, and they have their work cut out to progress to the knockout stages. Nonetheless, after an encouraging campaign, the East Africans will be quietly confident that they can squeeze into the knockouts.

    Here’s what you need to know about the Taifa Stars’ three Group C opponents.

  • Aliou Cisse

    Senegal

    Fifa Ranking: 23 (one in Africa)

    How they qualified: Topped Group A, going unbeaten and conceding just twice. Their only setback was a draw away in Madagascar, a game overshadowed by a deadly stadium stampede.

    Nations Cup pedigree: Africa’s biggest side to never win the title, Senegal’s greatest ever team were defeated finalists in 2002, only months before reaching the World Cup quarter-finals.

    Coach: Aliou Cisse is a former Senegal midfielder, and was part of the Teranga Lions side that dazzled in Japan and South Korea 2002. As coach, he qualified the West Africans to the 2018 World Cup—their first since 2002.

    Star Player: Sadio Mane headlines a talented squad and, having scored 17 goals already in the Premier League this term, he has the quality to fire the Lions deep into the tournament.

  • Kenya and Harambee Stars captain Victor Wanyama.

    Kenya

    Fifa Ranking: 108 (25 in Africa)

    How they qualified: Benefited from Sierra Leone’s disqualification, perhaps, but still defeated Ghana en route to Egypt, conceding just one in their four qualifiers.

    Nations Cup pedigree: Underachievers, Kenya have five tournaments under their belt, but have never progressed to the knockouts. Could Sebastien Migne ensure they make it sixth-time lucky?

    Coach: Migne has built on some of the good work of his predecessors—including Stanley Okumbi—although recent decisions, such as cutting striker Jesse Were, haven’t gone down particularly well. He previously coached Congo-Brazzaville.

    Star Player: Victor Wanyama hasn’t had the best season at Tottenham Hotspur, where injuries have continued to affect his progress, but he’s the lynchpin of the national side.

  • Riyad Mahrez Algeria Zimbabwe

    Algeria

    Fifa Ranking: 70 (13 in Africa)

    How they qualified: They were troubled by The Gambia, failing to beat the minnows home or away, but still qualified as Group D winners.

    Nations Cup pedigree: Winners in 1990, where Rabah Madjer, Taher Cherif El-Ouazzani and Djamel Menad inspired Les Fennecs to the continental crown.

    Coach: Djamel Belmadi was appointed in August 2018 with the target of restoring the North Africans to their former glory following the muddled tenures of Christian Gourcuff, Milovan Rajevac, Georges Leekens, Lucas Alcaraz and Madjer.

    Star Player: There are plenty of options, but Riyad Mahrez, who’s still chasing a quadruple with Manchester City, is the pick of a talented crop of offensive options.