Senegal v Zambia

Senegal's Moussa Sow
Moussa Sow trains in Bata's stadium on the eve of the opening Group A games

Africa Cup of Nations 2012

Venue:
Estadio De Bata
Group:
Group A
Date:
Saturday, 21 January
Kick-off:
2100 GMT
Coverage:
Watch live on Eurosport; live text commentary and full report plus reaction on the BBC Sport website and mobiles

TEAM NEWS

Neither Senegal nor Zambia have any injury concerns as both sides prepare for their Group A opener.

Coach Amara Traore does have a major decision to make up front though, where he must choose which of his top strikers starts on the bench.

Demba Ba, Moussa Sow, Souleymane Camara and Papiss Demba Cisse are fighting to start alongside captain Mamadou Niang.

Meanwhile, Zambia coach Herve Renard will reveal who he has chosen to replace absent striker Jacob Mulenga.

MATCH PREVIEW

Senegal are one of the tournament favourites following their fine qualifying campaign and abundance of talent in attack.

Boasting stellar forwards and a mean defence, the Teranga Lions are tipped to go far at this year's finals even if coach Amara Traore is trying to downplay expectations.

"We are not the favorites, but Senegal has ambition,'' he said. "We have a lot of motivation to win the first match so we can relax a bit for the second game.''

Traore is expected to field Kader Mangane and Souleymane Diawara in central defence, with Wigan's Mohamed Diame bossing the centre of midfield.

For Zambia, a clash with Senegal at a Nations Cup in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon immediately conjures up memories of the tragedy in 1993, when 19 Zambian footballers died in a plane crash.

Their vessel came down off the coast of Gabon en route to a World Cup qualifier in Gabon and many in the squad have spoken of the need to represent the fallen heroes in a suitable fashion.

"The souls are still there and we have to do something about what happened to that team which perished in Gabon," captain Chris Katongo told BBC Sport.

The Chipolopolo's preparations were disrupted after being forced to move hotel but coach Renard says the incident is over and has spoken of the need to focus on the tournament.

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