Tanzania will begin their quest for glory in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations when they take on Senegal at the 30 June Stadium on Sunday.
The Taifa Stars are making a return to the tournament after 39 years, courtesy of their Nigerian tactician Emmanuel Amuneke, who turned around their fortunes after a faltering start in the qualifiers. They will aim to start their campaign by avoiding defeat to the No1 ranked African team in the Fifa World rankings.
The Terenga are considered favourites given their impressive performances during the qualifying games and remain unbeaten in their last eight matches.
|Game||Senegal vs Tanzania|
|Date||Sunday, June 23|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In Tanzania, the game will be shown live on Supersport and EATV. The match will also be streamed live on CAF TV on Youtube.
|Tanzania TV channel||SuperSport|
Squads & Team News
|Goalkeepers||Manula, Mhata and Kalambo|
|Defenders||Ramadan, Phillipo, Michael, Mtoni, Hussein, Yondani, Nyoni and Moris|
|Midfielders||Salum, Mao,Yahya, Domayo, Mussa and Zayd|
|Forwards||Mandawa, Samatta, Ulimwengu, Bocco, Mussa and Msuva.|
Tanzania have no injury worries ahead of their encounter with the West Africans and will hope their star player and Genk forward Mbwana Samatta sparkles in the game as they aim to outwit the Terenga Lions.
Coach Amuneke believes his side can reach the knockout stages of the competition but admitted that Aliou Cisse’s men will be very dangerous opponents, even without their influential forward Sadio Mane who is suspended for this match.
“Of course we’re playing in a tough group, but we’ll do our best to qualify for the second round,” Amuneke said.
“I don’t think that Senegal will be weaker without Mane, he’s a big player but they have other great players and are a big candidate to lift the tournament."
Potential Tanzania starting X I: Mnata, Phillipo, Michael, Mtoni, Nyoni, Domayo, Hussein, Zayd, Yussuf, Bocco, Samatta.
|Goalkeepers||Diallo, Gomis and Mendy.|
|Defenders||Koulibaly, Wague, Cisse, Sane, Sabaly, Gassama, Ciss and Kouyate.|
|Midfielders||Ndiaye, Gueye, Diatta, Ndiaye and Saivet,|
|Forwards||Sarr, Balde, Niang, Konate, Diagne, Thioub and Mane.|
Senegal will be without their star man Sadio Mane who has 16 goals for the Terenga Lions. The forward scored 26 goals across all competitions last season to help Liverpool claim the Uefa Champions league and ended up as the Premier League's joint top scorer.
The 27-year-old has been suspended for the game following accumulated yellow cards in the qualifying series. Notwithstanding, Aliou Cisse is still expected to parade a formidable squad for the encounter.
Cisse has insisted that his side can cope without his star player Mane, with the likes of Inter Milan forward Keita Balde, Everton’s Idrissa Gueye and Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly expected to start the match.
"It is better to play with Sadio Mane. Now that he is not here, we will have to adapt to his absence. We have 23 players who are able to do the job and do the job properly. It's the national team that's important,” he said.
“Today, it is the collective that interests us more than ever, the collective must overcome the absence of Sadio Mane.
"We are not in a dynamic of negative thinking. We work to win and we work to make good results. And, as I said, the negative aspect is not part of our way of seeing things and our thinking.”
Potential Senegal starting XI : Gomis, Koulibaly, Wague, Kouyate, Sane, Ndiaye Gueye, Diatta, Balde, Niang, Konate.
Tanzania qualified for the Afcon tournament for the first time since 1980, picking the second ticket in Group L, following their 3-0 thumping of Uganda on the last day of the qualifiers.
In their first appearance in the tournament in 1980, they were eliminated in the group stage. They ended at the bottom of Group A after defeats to Nigeria and Egypt before a 1-1 draw against Ivory Coast. They will hope to surpass that performance this year and claim their first win in the tournament.
The Taifa Stars have started well with quality friendly games against host nation Egypt and Zimbabwe. They lost 1-0 to the Pharaohs and drew 1-1 with the Warriors, with captain Samatta rescuing the day for them with his second-half equaliser.
Senegal qualified for the tournament unbeaten in a group that has Madagascar, Equatorial Guinea and Sudan. Expectations are high that they will perform superbly in this year's tourney.
They are regarded as one of the best sides in Africa and will be aiming to secure a good result against the Taifa Stars to boost their chances of ending their title drought in the tournament.
The Terenga Lions came close to winning their first trophy in 2002 but ended up as runners-up after losing to Cameroon by a whisker via the penalty shoot-out in the final.
Given the desires of both sides to end their previous failures in the competition, the game is expected to be cagey but it remains to be seen who will carry the day on Sunday.