Sudan’s newly appointed national skipper Muhannad El Tahir (Pictured) is confident that they can win in Freetown against Sierra Leone. Speaking ahead of their Group I crucial clash this Saturday, 4 June 2016, the Al-Hilal striker who is targeting a historic third appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations after 2008 and 2012 has said only a victory will improve their chances.
“The real value of the game is that it is very important on the road to the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Gabon in 2017. Certainly, every member of the team is motivated and eager to have a taste of the continental championship. The players are well aware of the value of playing at the Africa Cup of Nations finals,” Muhannad El Tahir told Cafonline.com
“They have the feeling that if you don’t do well in the qualifiers, you cannot be among the best teams on the continent at the final tournament. It comes with a great effort and you have to struggle to achieve the result.
The players are highly motivated with the core of the team personally motivated by the desire to play at the finals of the AFCON. There can be no better motivation for a player than playing for your country at the AFCON finals. When you get the chance to wear your national colours at such a big tournament, it brings out a sense of national pride and also the joy of the whole nation is in your hands.
“My personal ambition as a player is to strive to achieve success. Also, the determination to continue playing for the national team pushed me to accept the honour to wear the prestigious armband.Throughout my career, I missed out on the national team only twice. The truth is that it is not easy to wear the captain’s armband to lead a national team. It is a big responsibility.
The 1970 African champions have four points going into the fifth round of the qualifiers, one behind leaders Cote d’Ivoire.
Host Sierra Leone with only a point fully mindful that only a win will reinforce their hold for Gabon 2017.
Since the country has been cleared to host International football matches the expectation has soared following a 1-0 win at home against Gabon back in March.
The Sudan tie will be Sierra Leone’s third international football match after the deadly Ebola virus that ravaged hundreds of lives. Victory for the Leone Stars will move them second behind Ivory Coast in the group standings.