Cairo, June 30: Kenya coach Sebastien Migne started a war of words with Aliou Cisse by questioning Senegal's mental strength ahead of the sides' Africa Cup of Nations clash.
The teams meet in Cairo on Monday to fight it out for qualification from Group C and are locked on three points each after two games played, with Senegal two goals better off.
Migne, whose side clinched a vital 3-2 win over Tanzania on Thursday, suggested the pressure of the third and final group game might affect Senegal, who lost for the first time in nine matches when they slipped to a 1-0 defeat to Algeria last time out.
"We know that from time to time, the mentality of Senegalese players may have some weaknesses," Migne told reporters.
"I hope that will be the case tomorrow, as they are under pressure. If our system works we can hurt our opponents very much. They have a lot of experience and in my opinion they are the biggest favourites for the tournament. It will be a difficult match but we are ready for it."
Migne's comments seemed to infuriate Cisse, whose side narrowly missed out on reaching the knockout stages at Russia 2018.
Defeat to Algeria was Senegal's first since their 1-0 reverse against Colombia at the World Cup, and Cisse defended his players, who won their last four AFCON qualifying matches without conceding a goal.
"What does he know about the mentality of Senegal?" fumed Cisse. "What does he know about our players? How can he say that we don't have the right mentality?
"I think my counterpart has to take care of his own team. We went to the World Cup a while ago. This was our first defeat in Africa in a long time."
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Kenya - Michael Olunga
The quality of Olunga's finishing made the difference against Tanzania, and with Kenya's defence unlikely to withstand the Senegal attack for the full 90 minutes the Harambee Stars will be relying on their target man to bury his chances.
Senegal - Kalidou Koulibaly
Senegal have kept a clean sheet in six of their last eight matches in all competitions and the steely resolve of Napoli's Koulibaly sets the tone at the back.
KEY OPTA FACTS
- Kenya are winless in their three games against Senegal in the Africa Cup of Nations (D1 L2), failing to score in each meeting. - Kenya have won two of their last three games in the AFCON (L1) after failing to win their first 13 (D4 L9). - Senegal have lost only once in their last six games in the AFCON (W3 D2) but it was the last one, against Algeria. - Kenya have conceded at least two goals in seven of their last eight games in the AFCON (17 goals overall).