Senegal’s coach Aliou Cisse has named a squad he hopes will finally bring him an Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title which has eluded the country for over two decades.
The 45-year-old tasted defeat in a final first as captain in 2002 where he missed a penalty kick in the shootout defeat to Cameroon, and then as coach in 2019.
“I want this AFCON. I have been running after it since 1999,” he said at the press conference after unveiling the squad.
For his third finals as coach, he has selected a group which includes 17 who have yet to play in the biennial African football showpiece.
“It is not the novelty (of the finals) that will make the difference, but they can bring a freshness of approach to the squad,” he said.
However, there is experience too in the shape of Liverpool star Sadio Mane, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) midfielder Idrissa Gueye, Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly and Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.
Senegal will begin their preparations with a camp in Rwanda on Thursday.
“We chose Rwanda because they have the same characteristics as Bafoussam with the height,” said Cisse.
Senegal are in Group B and open their campaign against Zimbabwe on Jan. 10.
This is before further games against Guinea (Jan. 14) and Malawi (Jan. 18) for the tournament that kicks off on Jan. 9 and runs till Feb. 6.
Goalkeepers: Edouard Mendy (Chelsea, England), Alfred Gomis (Rennes, France), Sény Dieng (Queens Park Rangers, England)
Defenders: Bouna Sarr (Bayern Munich, Germany), Saliou Ciss (Nancy, France), Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli, Italy), Pape Abou Cissé (Olympiacos, Greece), Abdou Diallo (PSG, France)
Ibrahima Mbaye (Bologna, Italy), Abdoulaye Seck (Royal Antwerp, Belgium), Fodé Ballo-Touré (Milan, Italy), Cheikhou Kouyaté (Crystal Palace, England)
Midfielders: Pape Matar Sarr (FC Metz, France), Pape Gueye (Marseille, France), Nampalys Mendy (Leicester City, England), Idrissa Gana Gueye (PSG, France)
Moustapha Name (Paris FC, France), Mamadou Loum Ndiaye (Deportivo Alaves, Spain), Joseph Lopy (Sochaux, France)
Forwards: Sadio Mané (Liverpool, England), Ismaila Sarr (Watford, England), Bamba Dieng (Marseille, France), Keita Baldé (Cagliari, Italy), Habib Diallo (Strasbourg, France)
Boulaye Dia (Villareal, Spain), Famara Diédhiou (Alanyaspor, Turkey), Mame Baba Thiam (Kayserispor, Turkey