African champion Sadio Mane anticipates the match against Qatar’s Al-Annabi will challenge his Senegalese team at the FIFA World Cup later this year.
Taking every match seriously, the superstar won’t underestimate any of the teams that have been drawn into Group A along with his team.
“Qatar will be tough opponents on home soil. Just like us, they head into the World Cup with a status to defend as Asian champions. We can’t overlook any of the teams in our group,” said Mane in an interview with FIFA.
“We have to be wary, focused, and, above all, just take one game at a time.”
Champions of Africa Cup of Nations, Senegal, has been dubbed a dark horse for this year’s tournament due to their ability to defend and attack the pitch.
Like Qatar’s men, the Senegal squad is youthful, with an average age of 26, both teams will witness a fast-paced game.
Time is of the essence for Mane as he has bagged titles at the club and the continental stage, however the World Cup trophy showcase sits empty for Africa’s best footballer.
In the interview with FIFA, Mane reminisced about Senegal’s World Cup journey, toasting the 2002 campaign in South Korea and Japan.
“The 2002 generation are our role models. That team put Senegal on the world football map. They rewrote our nation’s history and were their heirs. They’re record-breakers, and all records are there to be broken,” said the Bayern Munich forward.
“I can tell you now that we will be heading to Qatar with a clear idea of our strengths and will be giving our all to get as far as possible. I know that’s also what our predecessors wanted to see from us. You only have to look at just how emotional they were when we lifted the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year,” Mane also said.
Senegal will face Qatar on the 25 November after they play the Netherlands on 21 November at Al Thumama Stadium and meet on 29 Ecuador at Khalifa International Stadium.