Can you visualize a battle between a band of Sparrows and a club of Lions in the wild? Except a miracle happens or the Sparrows do the unusual can the Sparrows make the Lions to retract or be caged in defeat. That is the picture as the Terenga Lions of Senegal do soccer battle with the Sparrows of Benin Republic at the 30 June Stadium in Egypt with Referee Mustapha Ghorbal of Algeria as the umpire or lead judge at 5pm on Wednesday.
Four times have both teams met before three times the Lions devoured and there was a draw once. When they met on 19th September 2017, the Lions made mincemeat of the Sparrows 4-0. There was a draw in 2000.
But the Sparrows that played 2-2 with the rampaging Black Stars of Ghana in their opening match at the present AFCON Mundial; played goalless with Guinea Bissau; played goalless with another specie of Lions called Indomitable Lions of Cameroon and again subdued another specie of Lions called Atlas Lions of Morocco 4-1 on penalties after 1-1 play at extra time is a great Davidic credentials that will make the sons of Goliath pee in their pants. The Terenga Lions have to tread with caution for there is banana peel everywhere that torpedoes the mighty ‘Iroko’ men. Benin was a lucky loser from group F with 3 points but they seem to be made of steel.
Senegal came without their talisman tricky striker, Sadio Mane to beat the Taifa Stars of Tanzania 2-0 on first outing in Egypt. Algerian Desert Foxes struck them 1-0 in the second game and they took it out on the Harambee Stars of Kenya 3-0 before the Uganda Cranes were consumed 1-0 in the round of 16 matches. It was the majestic strides of the Lion in the jungle.
The stats show that the Senegalese could finish the match within the 90’ regular time. A tremendous ball possession of 240% to 140% shows Benin may have to do something unusual. Senegal has had 24 shots on target while Benin has 10 meaning Sparrows goalkeeper will do extra work here. The 21 corner kicks to Benin’s 18 also shows the defense will surely need help from the attackers. Senegal has scored 6 goals and conceded only one scored by Algeria and Benin scored 3 goals and conceded 3 meaning double ‘wahala’ for dead body and the owner of dead body like African legendary Musician, Fela Anikulapo Kuti sang because the Benin coach will have to stand at the sidelines barking instructions to the defenders and midfielders to cover their goalkeeper. I hope the coach will not lose his voice, get a yellow himself or be sent into the stands.
The Benin is 4th on Fouls List after Congo (105), Algeria (88) and Ivory Coast (88) as they have 80. Benin is also on the high with yellow cards highest with Congo and Tunisia with 9 yellows each. Benin had a red card. It is not comparable with the 67 foul records of Senegal and the 6 yellows with no red. It means Senegal has more team and individual discipline than Benin. Benin was so agitated and rebellious against Morocco that they almost walked out on the match though I write that officiating was questionable and provocative.
The dressing room of Benin was turned to a dancing floor after the victory over Morocco though my telescope could not locate the Dancing Senator of Nigeria despite the fact that they sang popular Yoruba songs. Will they have a new song over fellow West Africans? 30 June Stadium will determine.
Benis has Michael Pote who scored two goals; Morse Adilehou who got a goal; hard fighting Adeoti sparring in midfield and Cebio Soukoud who played vital roles in goal assists. Khalid Adenou is suspended and will not feature against Senegal.
Senegal has the sleekly Striker, Sadio Mane who has scored 3 goals. They also have foreign greats like Daitta and overlapping strong horse, Keita who both have a goal each.


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