U17 AFCON Final Delights Senegal’ Coach
Senegal’s head coach Salio Dia was an elated man after guiding the team to their first ever TotalEnergies U17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) final, following their semi-final win over Burkina Faso in Annaba on Sunday.
Senegal prevailed 5-4 on post-match penalties following a 1-1 draw in regulation time. This is their third participation at the tournament and in the previous two editions they have played in, the Teranga Cubs have not made it past the group stages.
“I congratulate my players who fought hard to achieve this objective of going into the final. I also congratulate Burkina Faso because it was a great quality match between the two sides,” the tactician said.
He adds; “playing the final for the first time ever is a great achievement for Senegal and we are all proud as a team.”
Looking back to the match against Burkina Faso, the coach said it was a difficult duel, with tactical and physical prowess going head to head.
“We had two opposite styles with Burkina Faso. For us we try to progress with the ball from the back while Burkina Faso play with the long balls and attacking the second balls. They were also very strong in midfield. But as a team we put in a great effort,” Dia noted.
Meanwhile, he has paid a glowing tribute to academies and youth training centres in Senegal, saying this achievement was down to the work they have put in, to nurture talent from an early age.
“I want to thank the coaches of these players from all over Senegal as well as their training centres. We are trying to put things in place as a country and to give players the Senegalese identity from a young age, instill the values in them and we are now seeing the fruits,” Dia further added.
Senegal will now face off with Morocco in the final at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Algiers on Friday, where they hope to follow in the footsteps of other Senegalese national teams in winning continental titles.
Most recently, Senegal won the TotalEnergies Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) hosted here in Algeria, while they won the U20 crown in Egypt. In 2021 they won the senior AFCON and the Beach Soccer AFCON.