Senegal coach Malick Daf says Benin’s qualification to the quarter-final shows the Cheetahs will not be pushovers when the two sides clash at the TotalEnergies U20 Africa Cup of Nations in Cairo on Thursday.
The Teranga Cubs won all three group stage matches without conceding a goal and scoring eight goals enroute to the knock-out phase of the tournament.
The performances of the WAFU-A champions were rewarded when four of their players were named in the group stage Best XI.
Goalkeeper Landing Badji who won the best goalkeeper award of the group stage is joined by midfielder Mamadou Camara in the team and forwards Pape Diallo and the leading scorer and Best Player of the group stage Pape Diop.
Despite their impressiv showing so far in the tournament, the Senegal coach insists Thursday’s opponents will not be easy to play against.
“The Benin national team is definitely strong and playing them will not be easy and the proof is that they succeeded in reaching the quarter-finals,” Daf said.
“We came here with many goals and the most important of them is reaching the World Cup.
“We have already succeeded in reaching the quarter-finals and faced big and strong teams like Egypt but we’re fully focused on our next matches to complete the journey.
“In order to win the title, you have to win all the matches. We have to completely forget the group stage, and our goal now is to reach the semi-finals,” Malick Daf added.
Pape Diop who scored a hat-trick against host nation Egypt says the West Africans aim to reach the World Cup.
“There are only a few steps left for the dream of reaching the World Cup,” said the Zulte Waregem starlet.
“The Benin team is good but we are highly prepared for the match. Good preparation is the secret to victory and we will fight to reach our goal.”