Senegal primed to end 17 years of AFCON disappointment - Cisse
Senegal coach Aliou Cisse is targeting title success at next year's Africa Cup of Nations and believes that his side will be a match for any of the continent's contenders in Cameroon.
By the time next year's showpiece rolls around, it will have been 17 years since the Teranga Lions last featured in the final of Africa's showpiece - when they were defeated on penalties by Cameroon in Bamako - but Cisse is confident that mental preparation could see his side go far in 2019.
2002 was Senegal's best year in international football, when a team containing Cisse took silver at the AFCON and then became the second African side to reach the quarter-final of the World Cup, but they've struggled to build on that progress in the intervening years.
"Since 2002, we've been lacking luck to bring home this cup," Cisse told journalists as per Wiwsport. "Objectives are part of sport, and as I've said, I want to go and win the AFCON.
"There are 12 teams or so who can bring home the cup," he added. "We're aware of our strength, we're respected in Africa, we're respected in the world.
"Today, Senegal are capable of beating any team, we're capable of competing with any team on the continent or globally."
Since taking the reins of the national team in 2015, however, Cisse has struggled to truly realise his side's immense potential.
They impressed during the group stage of the 2017 AFCON but were defeated by eventual winners Cameroon on penalties during the quarter-final.
The 42-year-old secured Senegal's qualification for the 2018 World Cup - their first appearance at the tournament since 2002 - but they failed to capitalise on a favourable group and an opening victory over Poland to fall at the first hurdle.
"Now, what's written in the papers and what goes on on the pitch isn't the same," Cisse continued. "We're maybe stronger than an adversary but we still lose.
"It's up to us to prepare ourselves mentally if we want to go far."
Senegal are one of four teams to have already secured AFCON qualification alongside hosts Cameroon after four matches.
They and Madagascar have already qualified from Group A, meaning that Cisse and his squad can already begin their tournament preparations when they face Equatorial Guinea in Bata on November 17.