Tanzanian players celebrate their success of qualification to Afcon after 39 years (Photo: Aisha Nakato) Credit: Kawowo Sports | AISHA NAKATO

Tanzania and Kenya return to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations for the first time since 1980 and 2004 respectively and face a tough group against seasoned campaigners Algeria and Senegal.

The group looks tough for the East African nations but how far can they go?

Action between Kenya and Uganda at Machakos Credit: © Kawowo Sports | AMINAH BABIRYE

Kawowo Sports’ Ismael Kiyonga previews Group C citing the strengths and weaknesses of each team and highlighting the key player from each team.

SENEGAL

Nickname: Teranga Lions

Coach: Aliou Cisse

AFCON appearances: 15

Best Performance: Runners up (2002)

Key Player: Sadio Mane

Sadio Mane Credit: Courtesy photo

Strengths: The Lions of Teranga have one of the strongest and well balanced squads at the Afcon. A strong defence led by Napoli’s Kalidou Coulibaly, a midfielder marshalled by Everton’s Idrisa Gueye and a forward line led by Liverpool’s Sadio Mane.

Weaknesses: They always fall short at the big stage and rarely live up to their pre-tournament favourites-billing.

TANZANIA

Nickname: Taifa Stars

Coach: Emmanuel Amunike

AFCON appearances: 2

Best Performance: Group Stages (1980)

Key Player: Mbwana Ally Samatta (KRC Genk)

Samatta Credit: TFF

Strengths: They are a team that works and fights for each other. No many big names save for Samatta but he puts team first. Besides, they have a team that has played together for some time with the likes of experienced John Bocco, Samatta, Thomas Ulimwengu, Erasto Nyoni, Aggrey Morris and Kelvin Yondani among others.

Weaknesses: The Afcon finals will be a whole new experience to the team and the opponents will look to exploit their naivety at the stage.

KENYA

Nickname: Harambee Stars

Coach: Sebastien Migne

AFCON appearances: 6

Best Performance: Group Stages (1972, 1988, 1990, 1992 and 2004)

Key Player: Victor Wanyama (Tottenham Hotspur)

Victor Wanyama (L) during Kenya Harambee Stars training at Namboole. The Kenyan captain will play at Afcon 2019 Credit: © Kawowo Sports | AISHA NAKATO

Strengths: A strong midfield marshalled by skipper Victor Wanyama along with Dennis Odhiambo and Akumu as well as a strong backline that concedes less.

Weaknesses: Over reliance on Michael Olunga for goals will cost them at the bigger stage and they are not clinical enough in front of goal. Besides, their goal keeping position is kind of suspect.

ALGERIA

Nickname: Dessert Warriors

Coach: Djamel Belmadi

AFCON appearances: 19

Best Performance: Champions (1990)

Key Player: Riyad Mahrez

Riyad Mahrez

Strengths: A fierce attacking force led by Manchester City’s Mahrez and always get the goals.

Weaknesses: Their defence isn’t as compact if attacked and always crumble at the bigger stage despite the enormous quality in the team.

Senior Staff writer at Kawowo Sports mainly covering football

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