Senegal's new Beach Soccer coach Mamadou Diallo says his players must stay focused for their second-leg clash with Cameroon on Saturday despite their emphatic first-leg win.
The new coach started his reign of the African champions with a 9-1 away victory against Cameroon last month, sparking talk of another big win.
Despite the impressive victory result, Diallo has asked his players to stay focused for the return leg scheduled in Dakar against a wounded Cameroonian squad.
The former assistant of Ngalla Sylla - the previous coach who won the African title and subsequently recruited by Morocco - Diallo admits to having “had a little pressure” they were drawn to play against Cameroon in the qualifiers for the African Beach Soccer Cup.
In an interview with CAFOnline.com, the former beach soccer player said that “replacing an African champion coach (Ngalla Sylla) is never easy even though I was his assistant for several years”.
"Responsibilities are different depending on whether you are number 1 or assistant," he said, stressing that starting his reign against Cameroon is not a gift.
“I told the footballers to forget that it is beach soccer and to focus on a match against Cameroon, a name that speaks when we talk about football.
"If Cameroonian beach soccer has been absent from the continental scene for several years, playing against Cameroon is always difficult, especially when it comes to the national team, they are always at their fullest and give 200 percent," said the Senegalese technician.
''In the end, the message got through, we pressed high and there was no flaw in our organization, which allowed us to record this good result,'' he explained, stressing that his group will stay focused for the return leg.
“There will always be the pressure of the home game but the group made up of 8-9 players who have played in the national team for several years, will cope brilliantly”, he assured.
"Senegal is the reigning African champion and semi-finalist of the World Cup, we respect everyone but fear no one, it's up to others to be afraid, not us," he said. insisted.
Asked about African beach soccer, Mamadou Diallo, a retired professional footballer who has played several competitions with the Beach Soccer Lions, says federations must organize regular competitions.
'' There is no secret but we will move forward when there are more competitions. In Senegal, we are in our third year of league competition and it impacts on the level of our players. The continent must go in this direction and in addition to the championships, we must organize several tournaments to give competition to our players,'' he added.
Apart from Senegal's victory over Cameroon 9-1, the other matches saw another away victory with Madagascar beating Seychelles 5-2 and Uganda also pulled a similar feat with the same scoreline against Comoros in Moroni.
Malawi beat Tanzania 3-2, Ghana defeated Egypt 6-5 while Libya withdrew from its clash with Nigeria.
Semi-finalist of Beach Soccer AFCON in 2020 played in 2021 in Senegal, Morocco led by Senegalese technician Ngalla Sylla were beaten 7-6 by Côte d'Ivoire in Abidjan.
The Atlas Lions will have the opportunity to host the Ivorians in the second-leg matches to be played across Africa at the weekend.
The teams are fighting to qualify for the continental showpiece that will take place from October 21 to 30 in Mozambique.