Senegal vs Zimbabwe LIVE: Sadio Mane and Co looking for winning start to Group B campaign against minnows… but the Lions of Teranga are without Edouard Mendy and Kalidou Koulibaly due to Covid
- Sadio Mane’s Senegal reached the final of the Africa Cup of Nations in 2019
- Zimbabwe are looking to avoid a third consecutive AFCON group-stage exit
- Latest Africa Cup of Nations news, including live action and results
- Africa Cup of Nations group stage tables – as it stands
Senegal will begin their quest to win their first Africa Cup of Nations in their opening Group B fixture against Zimbabwe in Bafoussam.
Sadio Mane and Co reached the final of the 2019 edition of the tournament, only to be beaten by Algeria in Cairo.
But they are one of the favourites to win this year’s competition and will look to open their campaign by keeping their unbeaten run against Zimbabwe at AFCON since July 1999 going.
Follow Sportsmail‘s KISHAN VAGHELA for live Africa Cup of Nations coverage of Senegal vs Zimbabwe, including build-up, team news and updates.
Former Real Madrid and Chelsea star Geremi is Sportsmail’s AFCON expert and delivered his predictions for this year’s tournament prior to yesterday’s opening day.
He looks at why his country could be the ones to watch out for, and what is so special about Andre Onana
A look at the midfielder’s c.v. tells you as much – having swapped Champions League nights at a sold-out Celtic Park for weeknights in front of empty stands in the National League.
It is why the prospect of going from having no club to lining up this afternoon against Senegal and Sadio Mane – all in the space of just 18 months – brings excitement, not trepidation.
READ SPORTSMAIL’S EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH KUNDAI BENYU BELOW
‘I am more that happy,’ said Zimbabwe coach Norman Mapeza ahead of today’s game. ‘We are ready. We just have to go there with maximum concentration and a positive mind. It’s all about mental strength and that is what I have been telling the guys. Any result is achievable in football.’
‘It’s a difficult and complicated situation,’ said former Portsmouth and Birmingham City defender Cisse.
‘But we are going to be competitive and those there are going to play for those who are absent.
‘We are still going into the game against Zimbabwe full of confidence.’
Plenty of things for Aliou Cisse to have to adapt to then following the Covid outbreak in his squad ahead of the tournament.
Captain Kalidou Koulibaly of Napoli was one of those ruled out with the virus for today, along with Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.
PSG star Gueye captains Senegal instead while QPR’s Dieng comes in between the sticks.
Famara Diedhiou, Saliou Ciss, Bamba Dieng, Mame Baba Thiam, Pape Matar Sarr, Alfred Gomis and Leicester’s Nampalys Mendy are also out due to Covid.
Seny Dieng, Abdou Diallo, Pape Abou Cisse, Ibrahima Mbaye, Fode Ballo Toure, Cheikhou Kouyate, Idrissa Gueye (c), Bouna Sarr, Keita Balde, Sadio Mane, Boulaye Dia
There’s nothing like a bit of pre-tournament confidence, and that’s what Sadio Mane has shown for his Senegal side ahead of today’s match.
His country are the only major African nation yet to win the Cup of Nations, having come close in 2019 before losing to Algeria in the final.
But teasing Liverpool team-mates Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita – representing Egypt and Guinea respectively – he seems confident this time around…
The AFCON got underway with a bang yesterday with Cameroon and Cape Verde recording victories on the opening day of the tournament.
Now it is the turn of one of the favourites, Senegal, to open their account in their Group B fixture against Zimbabwe.
Join me to see if Sadio Mane and Co can record a victory in Bafoussam.
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