Senegal coach Mame Moussa Cisse has set his sights on progressing from the group stage of the TotalEnergies Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco.
Cisse’s comments follows the draw for the group state of Africa’s biggest women’s competition held in Rabat on Friday, where the West Africans were pitted against hosts nation Morocco, Burkina Faso and Uganda.
For the Senegalese technician, the target going into the tournament is to doing everything humanly possible on the pitch to get past the group stage.
“The objective is to have a good Women’s Afcon which means to go there with humility and with the will to have a good tournament to try to get out of this pool,” the Senegalese coach told CAFOnline.com.
To achieve this goal, the Lionesses who had lost their three matches during their debut tournament at Equatorial Guinea 2012 would need to put up a string of strong performances to avoid another group stage ouster.
The West Africans will launch their campaign against Uganda at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Sports Complex on July 3 before taking on Burkina Faso two days later and the hosts nation in their final group game on July 8.
“It will be necessary to raise the level of play to be up to the ambitions. The host country of the competition “is a country which has real ambitions to excel,” Cisse speaking about facing Morocco.
“Morocco has put a lot of resources into the development of women’s football in recent years, it has had to organize a lot of friendly matches to prepare.
“We were able to benefit from their invitation to play against them. It is a country that has real ambition for this competition.”
On battling debutants Burkina Faso, he feels they are a “country which has technical and physical qualities to prevail”, while admitting that he has limited knowledge about his side’s opening match opponent, Uganda.
Despite facing uphill task to advance, Cissé insists his side have a good chance of not just progressing but also qualifying for the Women’s World Cup.
“This is an opponent who plays very aggressive, very direct and very physical football. This may be another ambition but Senegal must take the matches one after the other,” he remarks.
In the same vein, former Lionesses captain and Senegelese FA Women’s Football Commission president Seyni Ndir Seck described pool A as an ‘open group’.
“There is never an easy draw, especially when you play a group where there is the organizing country which is a candidate for the first place”, said Seck, while stressing that the first objective is to win the opening match.
“Our opening match will be against Uganda which since 2000 has not taken part in this competition, she recalled.
Senegal must win their opening match against the Crested Cranes to bright their chances of advancing as Seck believes everyone can qualify from group A.
“It’s an interesting tournament and the main objective for us [Senegal] is to get past the group stage,” she concluded.