July 18, 2019 / 3:52 PM / a month ago

Soccer-Senegal buzzing ahead of Africa Cup of Nations final

DAKAR, July 18 (Reuters) - As Senegal gets ready to face Algeria in Friday’s Africa Cup of Nations final, residents in the country are celebrating the occasion by painting their neighbourhoods in national colours.

Business has been brisk for street hawkers selling flags and soccer shirts, while community dance groups are urging people to join in what could be the biggest party atmosphere seen in west African nation.

The match comes just over a year after Senegal narrowly failed to advance from the group stage in the World Cup in Russia and 17 years after they were beaten on penalties by Cameroon in the 2002 African Cup of Nations final.

“We want the trophy, we don’t want anything else, just the trophy. But for me, trophy or no trophy, a final is a celebration,” Mamadou Keita, who lives in Dakar, told Reuters.

Senegal have never won the Cup but the celebrations following Sunday’s semi-final, when a bizarre own goal in extra time handed them a 1-0 victory over Tunisia, offered a sign of what might happen if they do triumph on Friday: a drum-beating street party across the beachside city right from the final whistle. (Reporting by Anna Pujol-Mazzini Editing by Edward McAllister and Pritha Sarkar)

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