El Hadji Diouf was a core figure in the team that helped Senegal to their two last Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) semi-finals in 2002 and 2006. The Lions of Teranga came inches close to their first ever continental title in 2002, but fell short in the final.
Diouf, and current coach Alliou Cisse were among the players who saw their spot-kicks saved in the 3-2 post-match penalties loss to Cameroon after a 0-0 draw in regulation time.
“We are Senegal! We have good players and we have the perseverance and experience to win games”
El Hadji Diouf
The former striker, now believes the current squad has what it takes to thrive where they failed, as Senegal’s ‘Golden Generation’. So good that team was they came inches close to becoming the first ever African team in the quarter finals of a World Cup, that dream only coming short via a golden goal by Turkey in the round of 16.
Diouf has challenged the current team, led by European champion Sadio Mane to go for it and give joy to the people of Senegal.
“Football is so crazy but what I always say we are Senegal! We have good players and we have the perseverance and experience to win games. We need to just keep going, keep playing our football and see what we can achieve at the end of it. I know we can do something,” said Diouf, a two time African footballer of the year.
“I think so far we have shown in the tournament that we are a good team. We need to keep going and just doing what we do best. Now is the time to focus on the semis and give our best,” he added.
He believes that the current Senegalese team, rated top in Africa in the FIFA Rankings has what it takes to tackle any opponent and says they do not have a bit of fear in them.
Senegal faces 2004 winners Tunisia in Sunday’s semi-final at the June 30 Stadium, the same pitch where they played all their group stage matches and they hope for the same good omen to continue.