CAIRO (Reuters) – Goading an opponent is rare among Africa Cup of Nations coaches but Kenya’s Sebastien Migne did his best on Sunday to spice up the pre-match rhetoric by questioning the mental state of their next opponents Senegal.
“We know that they have never won an Africa Cup of Nations despite having the same qualities of players as the Cameroonians and Ivorians, who have already been crowned champions several times.
“For that, we have to question their mental strength,” he told a news conference on the eve of the Group C meeting between the two countries at Cairo’s 30 June Stadium on Monday.
“I hope they will not find it against us because given their qualities they can hurt,” said the Frenchman, who is taking charge in his first major tournament.
He said Senegal, among the favourites to take the title in Egypt, had struggled with the high pressing game and tough physical approach from Algeria in their last game.
Algeria won 1-0 to upset Africa’s top-ranked team and leave Senegal with three points from two games in the group, the same as Kenya.
“We have nothing to lose and everything to gain against a team of the quality of Senegal, who have players of the highest level,” added Migne.
“We will play our football with great enthusiasm and knowing that it is possible to qualify for the second round if we get the right result.”
Migne’s comments did not sit well with his counterpart Alou Cisse, who held a news conference of his own soon after.
Cisse suggested Migne might like to have a go at coaching the Senegal side before reminding him they had been “the top ranked team in Africa for a long time now and our first defeat on this continent in four years came last Thursday against Algeria”.
(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Clare Fallon)