Senegal will feature in the 2021 COSAFA Cup as a guest nation but are determined to take home the trophy when the tournament is played in Nelson Mandela Bay from July 6-18.
The west Africans have been drawn in Group C along with six-time winners Zimbabwe, Mozambique and 2015 champions Namibia, with only the top team guaranteed a place in the semifinals.
There will be no Sadio Mane or Idrissa Gueye in their side, but instead a group a young, hungry players from the Senegalese domestic league, and their Head of Delegation for the trip, Sam Diatta, says they have just one goal in mind for their visit to South Africa.
“A guest should be hungry when they come to your place and we are definitely hungry,” Diatta tells The COSAFA Show. “We like these kinds of situations, being invited and then to go and take the trophy. We are not coming as tourists, we are coming to fight and play.
“We want to show that no matter the players we bring, we will show the image of Senegal. And in Senegal, talent is not a question, we have so many talented players (in the local league).
“You could bring even four teams to South Africa and each would represent the country (well) in that tournament. We are going as a hungry team to show people we can do something good.
“We are going to play good football and fight to take the trophy.”
In this episode of The COSAFA Show, we also chat to Dr Thulani Ngwenya, who is head of the medical department at the South African Football Association and a driving force in implementing world-class ‘return to play’ COVID-19 regulations for tournaments.
He explains how a competition like the COSAFA Cup can safely be staged during the third wave of infections South Africa is experiencing.
We also hear from Nelson Mandela Bay Deputy Mayor Luxolo Namette as he shares his thoughts on the competition and what it means for the Friendly City to host major sporting events such as this one.