Traore: Senegal must do more
© AFP

Senegal coach Amara Traore has sought to downplay the significance of his side's shock CAF Africa Cup of Nations opening defeat to Zambia.

The star-studded Lions were tipped to finish top of Group A but now face a battle to qualify after falling 2-1 to the Zambians yesterday, with their situation complicated further by Equatorial Guinea beating Libya. Traore, however, said today: "We lost a battle, not the war. It'll wake us up, and that's going to help me a lot on the psychological front.

"We turned the page on this match this morning, holding a debriefing on what needed to be fixed. My talk to the team was based on the fundamentals: passing, working as a unit, to be aggressive."

He added: "Quite a few of the players are competing in their first Nations Cup. We can't rest on our showing in the qualifiers, we have to do more."

We lost a battle, not the war. It'll wake us up, and that's going to help me a lot on the psychological front.
Senegal coach Amara Traore on their loss against Zambia

Traore was talking after overseeing a post-match training session in which captain Mamadou Niang, taken off at the break yesterday, figured in the 'B' side.

Senegal were stunned by two breakaway goals in the first 20 minutes from Emmanuel Mayuka and Rainford Kalaba, and all they had to show for their dominance after half-time was a Dame N'Doye goal which set up a tense climax.

Straight after the match Traore had described the first-half performance as "a calamity". But he noted: "Zambia caused us a lot of discomfort and did more running. But we still have a chance to get through. Tonight changes nothing."

Senegal have a chance to make amends on Wednesday when they meet the co-hosts Equatorial Guinea.