AFCON profile: Senegal

One of the most enduring memories of the 2002 World Cup was provided by Senegal when they shocked the football world

One of the most enduring memories of the 2002 World Cup was provided by Senegal when they shocked the football world by beating World and European champions France in the tournament opener.

The Lions of Teranga, in their first-ever World Cup appearance, would go on to produce a string of accomplished performances before exiting in the quarter-finals, becoming only the second African country after Cameroon to reach this stage of the competition.

Senegal had gone to South Korea and Japan fresh from a penalty shoot-out defeat to Cameroon in the 2002 AFCON final and carried that impressive momentum onto the biggest stage.

However, the Lions of Teranga faded away in the years that followed and even failed to qualify for the previous AFCON Cup in Angola two years ago. A number of coaches came and went before Amara Traore took over the reins and built a team that many have installed among the favourites to lift the AFCON 2012 trophy.

PREVIOUS AFCON INVOLVEMENTS:

Senegal impressed on their African Nations Cup debut in 1965 by reaching the semi-finals before losing to the Ivory Coast in a 3rd place play-off. They repeated the feat in 1990.

As tournament hosts in 1992 Senegal were fancied to go far but their hopes were shattered by Cameroon in the quarter-finals.

After years of underachieving, The Teranga Lions will be desperate to go all the way in 2012 and finally shed their tag as the nearly-men of African football.

SQUAD OVERVIEW:

With the likes of Moussa Sow, Mamadou Niang, Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba, Senegal boast one of the most impressive attacks at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.

Sow finished as the leading goal scorer in France's Ligue 1 last season, his goals helping Lille secure a league and cup double, while Cisse finished second in the goal-scoring stakes in the German Bundesliga.

Niang top-scored for Senegal in the qualifiers with five goals, including a hat-trick away to DR Congo.

But the man of the moment is undoubtedly Newcastle United's Ba, who has taken the English Premier League by storm.

ONE TO WATCH:

At the time of departing for the tournament 26-year-old Demba Ba was the second highest scorer in the league with 15 goals, two behind Robin van Persie of Arsenal.

It is easy to see why Newcastle manager Alan Pardew rates Ba highly. The striker has been a revelation this season and unsurprisingly he is being linked with a host of top European clubs.

Despite his rising stock Ba has played a total of 10 games for Senegal with a return of three goals, one of them on his debut against Tanzania in June 2007.

FACTS

FIFA Rank: 44

Coach: Amara Traoré

Captain: Omar Daf

Nickname: Lions of Teranga

Previous AFCON finish: 2008 - Round 1 - 2010 - Did not qualify

FULL SQUAD:

Goalkeepers: Khadim Ndiaye, Bouna Coundoul, Pape Latyr Ndiaye.

Defenders: Kader Mangane, Souleymane Diawara, Lamine Sané, Jacques Faty, Moustapha Bayal Sall, Pape Malickou Diakhaté, Cheikh Mbengue, Armand Traoré, Omar Daf.

Midfielders: Rémi Gomis, Mouhamed Diamé, Guirane N'Daw, Ndiaye Dème Ndiaye.

Strikers: Issiar Dia, Moussa Sow, Papiss Demba Cissé, Souleymane Camara, Mamadou Niang, Demba Ba, Dame N'Doye.