Senegal coach Aliou Cisse thinks Egypt and Cameroon’s exit from the 2019 Afcon has given them hope to win the tournament.
The West Africans have one of the strongest squads on paper at the competition 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.”
The Teranga Lions beat Uganda in the previous round to set up a quarterfinal clash with Benin this evening.
And Cisse is aware of the threat their opponents can deliver against them.
“As for Benin, I’ll say it again and again, for the past four years I have been here trying to convince you that there are no small teams on the African continent anymore,” said the coach.
“And I believe that this AFCON has shown that again, that winning in Africa is difficult, winning in Africa is complicated and wrong are those teams who think that a match is already settled.”