England have been warned Senegal are preparing to make history when the Three Lions face the “best in Africa” at the World Cup.
Fans from the west African nation have been creating a party atmosphere in Qatar by dancing, singing and drumming ahead of Sunday’s last 16 tie.
England supporters in Qatar are optimistic about progressing to the quarter-finals given the reigning Africa Cup of Nations champions are missing former Liverpool ace Sadio Mane through injury.
But the Lions of Teranga still have a number of top players in their ranks, including Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, his Blues teammate Kalidou Koulibaly and Watford winger Ismaila Sarr.
Senegal’s stadium hype man Boubacar Diallo, also known as DJ Boubs, has been tipped as one to watch at the second-round game to be held at the Al Bayt Stadium, in Al Khor, north of Doha.
Mr Diallo, speaking in Doha, predicted a “wonderful, amazing” atmosphere but warned Senegal are ready to cause another shock.
He told the PA news agency: “All Senegalese fans expect it will be a great match, a big game, it will be a game that we know your players and we’re ready.
“African people and Senegalese people are not afraid of England because our players play in England.
“We know who is Harry Kane, we know who is Marcus Rashford, we know who is Phil Foden.”
On his role to hype the crowd, he added: “I will get the microphone to excite the football players first, to say to them ‘you are stronger’, all of them know my voice in Senegal because I work at the radio.”
He said of the fans: “They are exciting, they make noise, they’re cool, but we have only one threat in this match – there a lot of English people in Qatar and there will be more (in number) than Senegalese fans.
“But we’re ready for the match, we’re ready for the game and we aren’t afraid.”
Mr Diallo highlighted France losing to Tunisia and Cameroon’s victory over Brazil to show the talent among African football.
On who will make the difference for Senegal, he said: “Everybody can make the difference.
“But we don’t have Idrissa Gana Gueye, we don’t have Sadio Mane but I think the team will play for Sadio Mane and will play for Idrissa Gana Gueye because it’ll be a big day, it will be history.
“The match will be in the history of Senegal.”
He added: “We’re going to win, we are sure we’re going to win, and Cameroon do that, Tunisia do that, why not Senegal?”
World Cup stadium DJ Tony Perry said each football association has been allowed to bring over their own announcer to Qatar.
He said of Mr Diallo: “He may as well be the president of Senegal.
“He’s a god. All the fans are taking pictures with him, he’s such a lovely guy. He dances, he sings, he really gets the crowd going.”
DJ Mr Perry, 36, from London, said of England’s World Cup chances: “You are getting carried away with a 3-0 win against Wales maybe, but I am starting to feel if we do get past Senegal and face France, I fancy our chances in this tournament – I half do.”
Supporter Maurice Diatta, 26, from Senegal and speaking in Doha, said: “I hope Senegal will win because the players we have are the best in Africa.
“I know England have good players and a good team, and it will be a wonderful match, but I hope Senegal win.”
But England fan Joseph Smith, 31, from Romford, is optimistic Gareth Southgate’s men can make it through to the next round.
Mr Smith has watched one game a day, including England’s three fixtures, during the tournament and praised the organisation of it.
The Sunderland fan, speaking at the Red Lion pub in Doha, said: “I think we’ll win on Sunday, it’s not going to be straightforward, and then France in the quarters will be our first test.”
The London cab driver added: “I spoke to a Senegalese fella where we’re staying and he said ‘don’t underestimate us’ because they won the Africa Cup of Nations and I said ‘trust me, we’re not’.”
The Red Lion has been hosting up to 700 supporters a day during the tournament, with up to 400 in at any one time, with large contingents from England and Wales during the opening fortnight.
Steve Morgan, PR and marketing manager at the Red Lion, is expecting another busy day on Sunday and will be attending the game after securing tickets.
He said a “party atmosphere” which is “safe and secure” has been generated in the bar, with 65 staff helping to keep things running smoothly.
Mr Morgan said of England: “I’m confident but I’m a Spurs fan so I don’t get too excited. It should be interesting.”
Senegal head coach Aliou Cisse could miss the game due to illness.
The former Birmingham and Portsmouth man was part of the 2002 squad which shocked holders France in the opening game before eventually losing to Turkey in the quarter-finals.
The 46 year-old was missing from his media duties on Saturday and unable to take training on Friday.
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