AFCON 2023 Qualifiers: Koulibaly states Senegal’s mission against Benin

AFCON 2023 Qualifiers: Koulibaly states Senegal’s mission against Benin

Senegal captain Kalidou Koulibaly said they are aiming for victory in their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Benin to regain top spot in FIFA rankings for Africa.

The Teranga Lions already qualified for next year’s AFCON in the Ivory Coast as they hope to retain the continental title they lifted in Cameroon in 2022.

Koulibaly admitted the match against Gernot Rohr’s Benin would be difficult but he assured that they will give their all to win the game to gather more points in the FIFA rankings.

In the latest FIFA rankings released in April, Aliou Cisse’s men are 18th in the world and second in Africa, behind Morocco with a gap of 64 points between the two countries.

The Chelsea defender said in a press conference on Wednesday: “The game against Benin is important for us. It’s a very dangerous team with good players and a great coach. We saw it in the first leg in Senegal, even if we managed to win this match, it was very complicated. 

“We are not going to take them lightly. They have their backs against the wall and absolutely must win, but we have a first place in the FIFA Africa ranking to take back, because Morocco is ahead of us now. 

“It brings us challenges. That’s why we play football. We will do everything to win this match and move up the FIFA rankings.”

Senegal will face Benin at the General Mathieu Kerekou Friendship Stadium on Saturday before they travel to Portugal to face Brazil in an international friendly on June 20.

Koulibaly believes a win in Cotonou would boost the team’s confidence in next Tuesday’s match at the Estadio Jose Alvalade.

He added: “We will have this friendly match against Brazil but I think everyone has to focus on this match against Benin. We want to look good by winning. We want to give joy and good feelings to the Senegalese.

“This requires a victory on Saturday. The group is good, we saw it on the field where there was a good mood of joy. It’s fun.”

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