U17 AFCON: Senegal coach Dia proud of historic achievement

U17 AFCON: Senegal coach Dia reveals secret to victory over Algeria

Senegal U-17 head coach Saliou Dia says he is proud of his team after guiding them to their first-ever U-17 Africa Cup of Nations final following their 5-4 peanlty shootout win over Burkina Faso in Sunday’s semi-final.

Both sides played out a 1-1 draw during regular time but the Teranga Cubs were the superior side in the shootout, converting all their penalties while Souleymane Alio missed for the Burkinabe.

Dia also credited the tactical approach to the game as playing a part in the victory.

“I congratulate my players who fought hard to achieve this objective of going into the final. I also congratulate Burkina Faso because it was a great quality match between the two sides,” he said.

“Playing the final for the first time ever is a great achievement for Senegal and we are all proud as a team.

“We had two opposite styles with Burkina Faso. For us, we try to progress with the ball from the back while Burkina Faso play with the long balls and attacking the second balls. They were also very strong in midfield. But as a team, we put in a great effort.”

Senegal have set up a date with Morocco in Friday’s final in the Algerian capital of Algiers, and Dia thanked his coaching crew for putting in the work on the players.

“I want to thank the coaches of these players from all over Senegal as well as their training centres. We are trying to put things in place as a country and to give players the Senegalese identity from a young age, instil the values in them and we are now seeing the fruits,” he stated.

The 2023 U-17 AFCON represents Senegal’s best outing in the tournament having failed to go past the group stage in two previous editions (2009 in Algeria and 2019 in Tanzania).

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