CAIRO: Hosts Egypt will be out to avenge their defeat by Senegal in the opening match of the 1986 African Nations Cup when they meet in the semi-finals here on Tuesday, claimed the Senegalese captain Ferdinand Coly.
The veteran defender told AFP that the Pharaohs had never forgotten the shame of the defeat on home turf.
The Egyptians still remember their defeat here in Cairo, said the Parma defender, who was an integral part of the Teranga Lions team that reached the 2002 African Nations Cup final and World Cup quarter-finals.
They will certainly be armed with the spirit of revenge, to erase that stain and to cap it all by qualifying for the final, added Coly, though his predecessors victory failed to stop the Egyptians from eventually winning the title.
Coly, who is in danger of missing the big match because of a thigh problem, said that the Senegalese, who produced their best performance of the tournament in beating Guinea 3-2 in the quarter-finals, would not be intimidated by the 74,000 Egyptian supporters in the International Stadium.
The only thing that counts is what happens on the pitch and not in the stands, said Coly.
We are going to do the maximum to secure victory and qualify for the final.
The key to the match will be remaining focused and assuming one s responsibilities.
Senegalese coach Abdoulaye Sarr said that most of his team were sufficiently battle hardened to surmount the passionate crowd.
We are used to this type of atmosphere; we have already competed at a World Cup finals, said Sarr, who also has a doubt over fiery striker El Hadji Diouf, who missed the Guinea match because of a pelvic injury.
My boys are pretty tough and experienced characters and the players who are less at ease will be helped by those guys; you will see that on Tuesday.
What will be, will be, added Sarr, who is in charge of his first African Nations Cup finals.
The winner of their semi-final will play either Nigeria or Ivory Coast in Friday s final. AFP