The two-time CAF Africa Player of the Year has backed the Teranga Lions to retain the title they won two years ago
Former Liverpool striker El Hadj Diouf has tipped his beloved Senegal as the favourites to lift the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in January, Soccernet.ng reports.
After 17 attempts, Senegal finally won the AFCON championships for the first time when they defeated Egypt in the final in Yaoundé in February 2022.
With Marseille’s Ismaïla Sarr, Chelsea’s Nicolas Jackson, and Al-Nassr’s Sadio Mané in their ranks, the Lions will be the team to beat in the next edition of the AFCON, says Diouf.
Aside from Senegal, the former Bolton Wanderers star also sees World Cup semifinalist Morocco and AFCON hosts as the biggest challengers for the continental title.
And despite the talents that Nigeria boast in attack, including Napoli striker Victor Osimhen and Bayer Leverkusen forward Victor Boniface, Diouf did not mention the Super Eagles among the teams to threaten Senegal’s reign.
“Senegal is the favourite, but there are outsiders like Morocco and Côte d’Ivoire, and there are teams that will emerge from the pack as the competition continues,” Diouf said in an interview with Senegalese media outlet Record as per Sport News Africa.
“Now, the African Cup we won in Cameroon was the responsibility of the management, who pulled out all the stops, but the next AFCON will be the responsibility of the players. And it’s up to them to show that they’re not finished yet.”
Nigeria are three-time winners of the AFCON, having claimed continental glory in 1980, 1994, and 2013.