Beach Soccer AFCON: Title holders Senegal expect 'tough competition' - Coach Diallo

Mamadou Sylla of Senegal celebrates goal with teammates during the 2021 Beach Soccer African Cup of Nations game between Senegal and Tanzania in Thies, Saly in Senegal on 26 May 2021 © Alain SuffoBackpagePix (2)

Mamadou Diallo, coach of the title holders Senegal expects a 'tough competition' at the Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations following the draw of the tournament to be played in Mozambique.

The Beach Lions were handed a tough draw to play some of the top sides on the continent including Madagascar, Egypt and Uganda.

Diallo spoke exclusively to CAFOnline.com and said Senegal's objective is to maintain their hold of the title they won two years ago.

Below is the full interview with Diallo:

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CAFOnline.com: Senegal will play alongside Madagascar, Egypt and Uganda. How do you see this group?
Mamadou Diallo: We do not have much information on Uganda but if they are present, it is because they deserve their place. We must respect them. Egypt and Madagascar, we know they are great nations in beach soccer. So from the group stage, we will have to raise our level of play. But we are the champions of Africa, we will go to this competition with a lot of humility but telling ourselves that it is up to others to be afraid of us.

What will be the objective of defending champions Senegal in this competition?

We have to go there step by step. First of all, we must aim for qualification to play at the World Cup then after that it will be time to get the continental trophy. When you are used to winning, it would be hard to hide. We will respect all our opponents but we are not afraid of anyone. It will be at a very high level but no one is safe because the others are working and progressing. It will be a very tough competition.

2021 finalists Mozambique are the host country. What are their chances?

They are a difficult team to defeat and playing at home, there is the advantage of the fans being behind the team but it can also be a pressure. Anyway, everything will be difficult in this competition, there are no small teams. In their group there is Nigeria, Morocco and Malawi. But I think our team is more seasoned. Anyway, you have to be ready in the first games to be able to get by in this competition.