The second round of matches from Group B in the Africa Cup of Nations is set to take place on Thursday, January 19, as Senegal are set to take on Zimbabwe at the Stade de Franceville in Gabon. Senegal currently sit at the top of Group B after their 2-0 win over Tunisia, while their opponents Zimbabwe, who were highly underrated prior to the tournament, started of brightly as they managed to draw 2-2 against Algeria in their opening encounter.
Also read: AFCON 2017 complete fixture list
Sadio Mane will once again lead the line for Senegal and will be looking to get on the score sheet once again. Along with him, Idrissa Gueye will be an instrumental figure in the midfield to break up the play as he has done so well for Everton this season. The likes of Kalidou Koulibaly, Cheikhou Kouyaté and Mohamed Diame will be some of their other important players as a win in this match will ensure qualification into the knockout stage.
Despite Senegal being the favourites to top their group and go all the way in the tournament, their manager Aliou Cisse has warned his players not to take Zimbabwe lightly.
"We all know this will be a difficult match against Zimbabwe, but we are Senegal and we have a status to defend," Goal.com quoted the Senegal manager as saying. "We are not underestimating them. Zimbabwe are a good team and what they showed against Algeria did not surprise me. We are in a tough group where anything can happen," he added.
He also went on to add that he is more than convinced that his team has what it takes to go all the way in the tournament.
"Perhaps we were overconfident in previous campaigns and believed the media hype about being among the favourites. I believe there is more humility within the squad now - a realization that we are just one of many contenders to become African champions. We are good enough to go all the way and bring the trophy to Senegal for the first time, but many difficult matches lie ahead," Cisse said.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe made a huge statement after they managed a draw against Algeria in their first match. Algeria took an early lead, but Zimbabwe responded well by scoring two goals before the break and if it was not for the brilliance of Riyad Mahrez in the final few minutes of the match, they could have won that match.
The bad news for Zimbabwe for this match is that they will be without their star forward Knowledge Musona, but he is expected to be back for their final match against Tunisia.
Their manager Callisto Pasuwa stated that their 2-2 draw against Algeria was no fluke and that match has given them a lot of confidence for the rest of their group stage matches. He also spoke about the importance of being confident ahead of this match as his team will be battling against the odds.
"We, as Zimbabwe have prepared well to face Senegal. I think the draw (against Algeria) has given us confidence considering that in our last game in AFCON, we were getting defeats. And for us, getting a draw in our first match means a plus. This gives the boys better motivation to go and play against Senegal. When we play against a team like Senegal, you have to be very brave on the ball and very aggressive. We will not let them play their normal game," Pasuwa said.
"If a coach goes to his players (and says) that we are not confident we will beat Senegal; we are defeated already. I have to tell them we will be on top and that is the confidence in our camp. Having that confidence from the people that have been watching us, it gives us a boost. Now, I hope the boys will go the extra mile," he added.
When to Watch Live
Senegal vs Zimbabwe is scheduled for a 12:30am IST (7:00pm GMT, 2:00pm ET) start.
Live Streaming and TV information:
India: TV: No coverage
Australia: TV: beIN Sports 1. Live Streaming: Bein Sports Connect.
USA: TV: beIN Sports connect. Live Streaming: fuboTV
UK: TV: Euro Sport 1. Live Streaming: EuroSport Player.
Senegal: TV: SuperSport Select 2, SuperSport 2
Zimbabwe: TV: SuperSport Select 2, SuperSport 6 Africa
France: TV: beIN Sports 2
Spain: TV: Eurosport 2