Senegal coach Aliou Cisse named a squad on Friday he hopes will finally bring him a TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations which has eluded him for over two decades.
The 45-year-old tasted defeat in a final first as captain in 2002 where he missed a penalty in the shootout defeat to Cameroon, and then as coach in 2019.
“I want this Africa Cup of Nations. I have been running after it since 1999,” he said at the press conference after unveiling the squad.
For his third finals as coach, he has selected a group which includes 17 who have yet to play in the biennial African football showpiece.
“It is not the novelty (of the finals) that will make the difference, but they can bring a freshness of approach to the squad,” he said.
However, there is experience too in the shape of Liverpool star Sadio Mane, Paris Saint Germain midfielder Idrissa Gueye, Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly and Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.
Senegal will begin their preparations with a camp in Rwanda on 30 December.
“We chose Rwanda because they have the same characteristics as Bafoussam with the height,” said Cisse.
Senegal are in Group B and open their campaign against Zimbabwe on January 10 before further games against Guinea (January 14) and Malawi (January 18) for the tournament that kicks off on January 9 and runs till February 6.
Goalkeepers: Edouard Mendy (Chelsea, England), Alfred Gomis (Rennes, France), Sény Dieng (Queens Park Rangers, England)
Defenders: Bouna Sarr (Bayern, Germany), Saliou Ciss (Nancy, France), Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli, Italy), Pape Abou Cissé (Olympiacos, Greece), Abdou Diallo (Paris Saint Germain, France), Ibrahima Mbaye (Bologna, Italy), Abdoulaye Seck (Royal Antwerp, Belgium), Fodé Ballo-Touré (Milan, Italy), Cheikhou Kouyaté (Crystal Palace, England)
Midfielders: Pape Matar Sarr (FC Metz, France), Pape Gueye (Marseille, France), Nampalys Mendy (Leicester City, England), Idrissa Gana Gueye (Paris Saint Germain, France), Moustapha Name (Paris FC, France), Mamadou Loum Ndiaye (Deportivo Alaves, Spain), Joseph Lopy (Sochaux, France)
Forwards: Sadio Mané (Liverpool, England), Ismaila Sarr (Watford, England), Bamba Dieng (Marseille, France), Keita Baldé (Cagliari, Italy), Habib Diallo (Strasbourg, France), Boulaye Dia (Villareal, Spain), Famara Diédhiou (Alanyaspor, Turkey), Mame Baba Thiam (Kayserispor, Turkey)