• African football

Senegal: Koulibaly regrets rejecting France call-up

Kalidou Koulibaly
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The Napoli defender opens up on his opportunity to play for the Bleus.

Kalidou Koulibaly has admitted regret over joining Senegal instead of accepting a call-up from France.

The Senegal captain played his debut for the Lions of Teranga when he was 24. However, he has now revealed that the Bleus had already called him up before that.

“Those who hesitate? I put myself in the box because I am part of it too. I came late, I joined the national team of Senegal at 24 years old when I had already been asked one or two years before,” Koulibaly told Onze Mondial (via Foot Mercato).

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Koulibaly joined France’s U20 team in 2011, playing six games in the FIFA U20 World Cup in Colombia. However, in 2015, he decided to join Senegal for the start of his senior international career.

The Napoli star added: “It is true that it is a reflection to have. Everyone wants to play for the French national selections. But afterwards, when you realise that you’ve wasted your time, you bite your fingers.

“Personally, I really bit my fingers. I knew Senegal could give me the chance to play internationally, and despite that, I waited two years. And two years, that’s about thirty games. I was unable to play for 30 games with my national team and I still bite my fingers today.”

Koulibaly captained Senegal to their first-ever Africa Cup of Nations trophy earlier this year. The former Genk defender will also play for the Lions in the upcoming Qatar World Cup.