Cisse was captain of the team that reached the 2002 final, losing to Cameroon on penalties, and is now coach of a strong side featuring Liverpool star Sadio Mane and Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly.

“It’s true that Cameroon are not here, the big favourites are no longer here today. Of course that gives us ideas and it gives us even more confidence to say yes, maybe this year will be the one,” Cisse said on Tuesday.

“But like I said, that’s just hope and it won’t be enough. We’ll have to work very hard, we’ll have to be serious, and that is what we’re doing.”

Cisse was quick to issue caution, though, warning that Senegal would pay the price for looking any further than Wednesday’s quarter-final with Benin in Cairo.

Michel Dussuyer’s side have, remarkably, progressed to the last eight in Egypt for the first time despite not winning a single game.

Some might feel that Senegal’s star has not burned as brightly is it can just yet. Even if Sadio Mane is one of the tournament’s leading scorers.

But this tournament is more about shockwaves rather than stars.


A whopping 66% win prediction belongs to Senegal for this first quarter-final, with the 90-minute draw at 24% and Benin’s hopes inked in at just 10%.


Four Senegal wins in the six meetings between the pair, with a single victory for Benin and a draw.

Source: Alexis Haden