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AFCON: Senegal include 5 Premier League stars in official squad

Senegal
CAIRO, EGYPT - JULY 14: Sadio Mané (left) and Cheikhou Kouyate of Senegal celebrate victory after winning the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Semi Final match between Senegal and Tunisia at 30th June Stadium on July 14, 2019 in Cairo, Egypt. (Photo by Visionhaus)

 The Lions of Teranga have announced their official 27-man squad for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations.

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Liverpool forward Sadio Mane and Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy head Senegal’s 27-man squad list for the Africa Cup of Nations.

Ranked No.1 on Africa’s FIFA rankings, Senegal will head to Cameroon as one of the main contenders for AFCON glory. They’ve taken no chances in pursuit of a first trophy in the competition after finishing as runners-up to Algeria in 2019.

As expected, the Premier League’s five Senegalese stars made the cut in Mane (Liverpool), Mendy (Chelsea), Cheickou Kouyate (Crystal Palace), and Nampalys Mendy (Leicester City).

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Two injured stars make it, but one doesn’t

Despite being injured, Kalidou Koulibaly and Ismaila Sarr have both made Aliou Cisse’s AFCON squad.

30-year-old defender Koulibaly, who plays for Serie A club Napoli, suffered a thigh problem against Sassuolo on December 1.

Sarr, meanwhile, hasn’t played since Watford’s 4-1 win over Manchester United on November 20. The 23-year-old forward has been sidelined with a knee injury ever since. He could, though, link up with the team in Cameroon at a later date.

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“Ismaila Sarr may not join the team on Dec 27,” said Cisse in a press conference on Friday.

“He could continue his rehabilitation with Watford, but his injury is progressing well and we hope to have him from the quarter-finals.”

The same, though, cannot be said for Krepin Diatta. The 22-year-old Monaco winger will miss AFCON due to a cruciate ligament rupture.

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Senegal squad for AFCON 2021

Goalkeepers: Edouard Mendy (Chelsea), Alfred Gomis (Rennes), Seny Dieng (Queens Park Rangers).

Defenders: Bouna Sarr (Bayern Munich), Saliou Ciss (Nancy), Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli), Pape Abou Cisse (Olympiacos), Abdoulaye Seck (Royal Antwerp), Abdou Diallo (Paris Saint-Germain), Ibrahima Mbaye (Bologna), Fode Ballo-Toure (AC Milan), Cheikhou Kouyate (Crystal Palace).

Midfielders: Pape Matar Sarr (Metz), Pape Gueye (Marseille), Nampalys Mendy (Leicester City), Idrissa Gana Gueye (Paris Saint-Germain), Moustapha Name (Paris FC), Mamadou Loum (Alaves), Joseph Lopy (Sochaux).

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Forwards: Boulaye Dia (Villarreal), Sadio Mane (Liverpool), Habib Diallo (Strasbourg), Bamba Dieng (Marseille), Ismaila Sarr (Watford), Famara Diedhiou (Alanyaspor), Mame Baba Thiam (Kayserispor), Keita Balde (Cagliari).

When do Senegal begin their AFCON campaign?

The two-time AFCON runners-up warm-up for the tournament with two friendlies against Rwanda on January 2 and 6.

Then it’s straight to business for Senegal. They kick off their AFCON campaign against Zimbabwe on January 10 in Group B, before facing Guinea on January 14 and Malawi four days later on January 18.

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