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U-20 AFCON 2023: Benin plotting to upstage in-form Senegal

Benin say they will be seeking to cause a major upset at the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations when they clash with favourites Senegal on Thursday.

The Cheetahs will be facing high flying Teranga Cubs in the quarter-finals of the tournament in Cairo for a place at the semis and also to secure a World Cup slot.

Benin squeezed through to the quarter-finals with two points in Group C while Senegal secured maximum nine points without conceding a goal to advance.

Cheetahs head coach Mathias Deguenon says they want to go to the final and that means they must overcome Thursday’s opponent.

“Tomorrow’s match is different from the group stage. If we win, we will qualify and if we lose, we will leave,” Deguenon said on Wednesday at the pre-match press conference.

“Our goal is to reach the final and we will play to win.”

“We have many goals, and we succeeded in achieving the first of them, which is qualifying from the group stage. 

“Now we have another task ahead of us, which is to reach the semi-finals in order to continue the journey.”

Malick Daf’s Teranga Cubs won all three group stage matches without conceding and scored 8 goals in the process.

“The Senegal national team is very strong, and the match will be critical, given that it is in the quarter-finals,” Deguenon said.

“We know very well how the Senegalese team plays and we will play to win.”

Francisco Dokou who plys his trade in Egypt with Smouha SC flanked Deguenon at the pre-match press conference at the Cairo International Stadium.

The midfielder says the weather in Egypt affected his colleagues but was quick to confirm his teammates are ready.

“Tomorrow’s match is very important. We are not afraid of facing Senegal and we respect them a lot. 

“Morale is very high despite the circumstances we face. Of course, the weather changes here in Egypt affect us, but we are ready.”

“We know that the match is difficult and that the Senegal team is a strong team and has so far performed very well, but we are ready to face them and are able to win.”


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