Published: Sat, July 20, 2019
Sport | By Ruben Hill

Sadio Mane makes huge Africa Cup of Nations claim

Sadio Mane makes huge Africa Cup of Nations claim

The hopes of two nations will be firmly on the shoulders of Sadio Mane and Riyad Mahrez as Senegal and Algeria battle it out in the Africa Cup of Nations final.

Senegal's star forward, Mane, stated that he would willingly swap his Champions League winning medal with Liverpool, for winning the Africa Cup of Nations on Friday - tells you just how big and prestigious the shiny trophy for the continent and its football insane citizens is.

Both East African Nations recorded defeats against Aliou Cisse's and Djamel Belmadi's squads, and were unable to score against both teams - let alone make it beyond the group stage.

Algeria held their nerve in the end - but Senegal had chances themselves.

Algeria won the group match 1-0 - which sealed their spot in the last 16 - thanks to a 49th-minute Youcef Belaili goal.

For Usher Komugisha, a Ugandan sports journalist, the fact that Belmadi is a former Algerian global helps explain - at least in part - the team's high-cohesion level.

With these incidents in mind, Belmadi said on the eve of the final: "We want to be representatives and show the world what Algerians can do".

"We slipped up in the first game against Algeria and we understood that and drew lessons from it", added midfielder Krepin Diatta, who played in the Under-20 Cup of Nations final two years ago. Now we are coaches for our national teams. Senegal, which is appearing in its first final since 2002, is back in the spotlight after cruelly being left out of the World Cup group stage due to fair play points-cards accumulated-in the first instance of the tiebreaker ever being used on such a stage.

After 51 matches in Egypt, we will be getting down to the nitty gritty of the Total 2019 Africa Cup of Nations on Friday when Senegal take on Algeria in the final.

Troubled flared after the semi final last weekend when Algeria scored the winning goal in the dying seconds of the match and thousands of fans poured out on to the streets to celebrate. "We are very calm and concentrated with great players and a strong collective unit".

"Football is part of us - Algeria is a football nation".

Add the rivalry with the Egyptians, who likely to support Senegal, the security personal will have hard time. "My players told me they would do better than my generation".

In addition, London witnessed several scenes of fans climbing on buses and fountains, setting off fireworks and even attacking police after the win over Nigeria.

Significantly, in their first meeting in 1990, the Algerians beat the Senegalese 2-1 at the semi-finals en route to claiming their first and only continental glory.

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