Senegal’s forward Sadio Mane attends a training session at the 30 June Stadium, in Cairo, on July 18, 2019, on the eve of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) Final football match between Senegal and Algeria. AFP PHOTO
- Senegal are favourites – fractionally – to win the title. But the Desert Foxes of Algeria have already beaten the Lions of Teranga 1-0 in the group stage
While appearing before the press, Senegal legend El Hadji Diouf saluted the technical and tactical level of two matches, Cameroon against Ghana which ended goalless and Algeria versus Senegal which the North African won 1-0.
Diouf even suggested that the Algeria – Senegal clash was the final which came too early. Little did he know that they will meet in eventual final at the Cairo International Stadium tonight.
The finale’s match-up was decided last Sunday when Senegal’s Teranga Lions defeated Tunisia 1-0 after extra time and the Desert Foxes of Algeria edged Nigeria 2-1.
The winner will walk away with Shs16.5b ($4.5m) while the loser Shs9.1b ($2.5m).
History and subplots
Senegal is seeking its first Cup of Nations title, 17 years after their only previous appearance in the final. Current coach Aliou Cisse missed the final penalty as Cameroon won 3-2.
Algeria hasn’t been in the final since they won their only title in 1990.
There are so many subplots. Riyad Mahrez helped Man City to win the Premier League title in May while Sadio Mane was part of the Liverpool side that lifted the Uefa Champions League last month. Both players are locked on three goals apiece.
Cisse and his counterpart Djamel Belmadi grew up together in France and both graced the Premier League. Both are seeking their maiden trophy as coaches.
The two teams will be without key players, the Foxes will do without defender Youcef Atal whose runs down the right from defence have wreaked havoc amongst opponents. However it’s the absence of Senegalese central defender Kalidou Koulibaly, suspended for the match, that is the talking point. The Napoli defender has been part of the defence which has let in only one goal in six matches.
Algeria were the last team to score against West Africans. Who partners captain Cheikhou Kouyate in centre remains the question.
Senegal will need tough midfield enforcers Idrissa Gueye and Henri Saivet to counter the Algerian quartet of Adlane Guedioura, Sofiane Feghouli, Ismael Bennacer and Youcef Belaili.
The timing of Mane’s runs will test the Algerian defence known for rash tackles will be key while Mahrez’s dead ball expertise could make the difference for the North Africans.
Today – AFCON FINAL
Senegal vs. Algeria
(SS7, 10 pm)
Senegal 4 wins
Algeria 13 wins
14 Aug 1983: Senegal 1-1 Algeria
28 Aug 1983: Algeria 2-0 Senegal
12 Mar 1990: Algeria 2-1 Senegal
10 Jan 1993: Senegal 1-2 Algeria
25 Jul 1993: Algeria 4-0 Senegal
27 Jan 2015: Senegal 0-2 Algeria
23 Jan 2017: Senegal 2-2 Algeria
27 Jun 2019: Senegal 0-1 Algeria
MONEY TALKS BIG AT AFCON 2019
*Apart from the Shs25.6b ($7m)
which will go to the two teams, both
countries federations have promised
huge bonuses for their sets of players
Sadio Mane and his Teranga
Lions teammates have already
pocketed Shs405m ($111,700) each
for making it to Egypt 2019. A victory
tonight, ending 54 years of hurt
will guarantee each Shs820m
Algeria players will each
receive Shs2.5b ($676,000) for
winning the country’s second Africa
title. Just like was the case last
Sunday, military aircrafts and
commercial planes courtesy of Air
Algeria will fly in fans for the final.
Over 2,000 fans flew in on Sunday to
witness the Desert Foxes hunt down
Nigeria 2-1 in the semifinals.
AFCON PRIZE MONEY BREAKDOWN
Runners-up: Shs9.1b ($2.5m)
Semifinalists: Shs7.3b ($2m)
Quarterfinalists: Sh2.9b ($800 000)
Round of 16: Shs2.2b ($600,000)
Groups/third: Shs2.1b ($575,000)
Groups/fourth: Shs1.7b ($475,000)
Winning bonuses per player
Senegal: Shs820m ($223,460)
Algeria: Shs2.5b ($676,000)