Drums, trumpets and singing from hundreds of excited fans accompanied Senegal’s Lions of the Teranga during a training session at the Leopold Sedar Senghor stadium in Dakar on Tuesday.
It was the Senegalese national team’s first training session open to the public ahead of their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon on Saturday.
The fans flooded the stands to see their Europe based stars who are determined to stun Cameroon on Saturday 26 March.
The players looked relaxed as they jogged around the pitch before they split into two squads for a short practice match on half of the pitch, under the stewardship of head coach Amara Traore.
From time to time, the Senegalese manager halted the game to provide tactical advice to his players. He constantly demanded them to play with speed and precision.
It would be foolhardy to read his choice of players based on the two squads. The session however suggested that he may to deploy at least four offensive players in what starts-off as a 4-4-2 but practically turns into a 4-2-4 when the team is attacking. (Gef’s Football Club shall return to these tactical lessons in a separate post)
The crowd seemed not to care about these tactical issues as they seemed more contented in singing the praises of their “Gaindés” particularly captain Mamadou Niang who earlier that day had been consecrated as a Champion of the MDGs Campaign to Eradicate poverty.
“We’ll beat Cameroon 7 – 0” (watch video) one fans screamed amidst the fanfare that had engulfed the arena. His words are a reflexion of the general mood of optimism among Senegalese as the crucial game nears.
At the moment in Dakar, it feels like Senegal Lions have already won the game. That is why it is easy for many to simply laugh-off a reported blunder by the country’s president, Abdoulaye Wade, who is said to have congratulated the Teranga Lions for their victory over Cameroon last Saturday – seemingly unaware that the game is still to be played (Read more about that here).
More on the Senegal vs Cameroon game to come on Gef’s Football Club…