AFCON 2023: Defending Champions Senegal Eye Flying Start Against Gambia

Defending champions Senegal will be kicking off their defence of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title against Gambia on Monday at the Charles Konan Banny Stadium in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire.

The Teranga Lions are currently on an unbeaten run and have not lost their last four matches. They are also having a decent campaign for the 2026 World Cup qualification.

As for the Gambians, they have lost their last two games in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers against Burundi and 2023 AFCON hosts Cote d’Ivoire, respectively.

Senegal will be without Boulaye Dia and backup goalkeeper Seny Dieng, who have been ruled out of the tournament.

Star player Sadio Mane will continue to be a key player upfront, while former Chelsea players Edouard Mendy and Kalidou Koulibaly will play important roles in defence.

The Gambia squad had to make an emergency landing of their flight to Yamoussoukro after players fell asleep due to a lack of oxygen. Gambia coach Tom Saintfiet said his players were still suffering from nausea and headaches a day later.

The two teams have never faced each other at the Cup of Nations, however Senegal have won 13 times against Gambia. 10 of their encounters ended as a draw and Gambia is yet to register a win against Senegal.

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