An interesting encounter will be expected with both teams eyeing a positive start to their campaign at the tournament that will give birth to the three continent’s representatives for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The stakes are high for Serigne Saliou Dia and his charges following the success story of the U-20 side guided by Joseph Koto, which reached the final of the continental championship last March on home soil, which has since raised the enthusiasm of the local faithful.
The host fine-tuned for the tournament with an impressive out at the recent West Africa Football Union (WAFU) Zone West A championship, where they emerged winners of the four-nation tournament.
The team enjoys popular support from the home fans and will be hoping to capitalize on the support to achieve a positive start to their campaign. Unlike at the U-20, where Nigeria humbled the hosts 3-1, a scenario Dia will be hoping to avoid against a South African side, which have been on the quiet since their preparations.
“We expect a very difficult game. South Africa has a very technical team with talented players. It's a team that has a lot of experience. It will be a very difficult match.
“It will be very complicated for us. We will face a very technical team, and we don’t have to give them space,” Dia said at the pre-match press conference.
South Africa will be without two key players, Gift Motupa and Menzi Masuku, who are on duty with their club, Orlando Pirates in the final of the Orange CAF Confederation Cup against Tunisia’s Etoile du Sahel on Sunday.
The two players are expected to join the team in Senegal on Monday immediately after the final, but Owen da Gama is hoping their absence will serve no obstacle.
“Senegal is a very difficult team to play, perhaps the best team of the tournament. I expect all players to join us by Monday,” said da Gama.