Bafana Bafana

Kalidou Koulibaly's bad news for Bafana

2016-09-05 14:16
Kalidou Koulibaly (Getty)

With his proposed transfer from Napoli to Chelsea faltering before last week's deadline, the 50-million pound priced Kalidou Koulibaly says he will now be focussing his attention on helping Senegal qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

And this forthright sentiment from the dynamic central defender, who is valued at a staggering billion rand by his Italian club, is bad news for Bafana Bafana - who are in the same qualifying group as the "Lions of Teranga" and faced with the knowledge that only one team from the group that also includes Cape Verde and Burkina Faso will go through to the pinnacle soccer extravaganza in Russia.

Not that Koulibaly is the only notable star on which Senegal can call on for the World Cup qualifiers, which get underway early next month, with the West African nation able to call on more than 30 players currently plying their trade in Europe.

These include players of the calibre of Liverpool's Sadio Mane; Crystal Palace's Pape Suare; Mohamed Diame (Newcastle United); Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City); Idrissa Gueye (Everton) and Cheikhou Kouyate (West Ham).

Koulibaly says it is his fierce ambition to help Senegal emulate the "Lions of Teranga" combination that stunned the soccer world by beating World Cup holders France in the opening game of the 2002 tournament - and then going on to become one of only three African countries along with Cameroon and Ghana to reach the World Cup quarter-final stage.

The dynamic Napoli defender also points out that the current Senegal squad are appropriately guided by three of the stars of the 2002 team, with Aliou Cisse the head coach, Lamine Diatta the team manager and Tony Sylva the goalkeeper coach.

While Senegal clearly loom as the main obstacle confronting Bafana in the bid to gain a crucial - even critically needed - place in the 2018 World Cup Finals in the current climate - Burkina Faso and Cape Verde are no pushovers either.

And the 1-1 draw in the final game of the failed African Nations Cup qualifying campaign against Mauritania on Friday provided little encouragement for the opening away World Cup qualifier against Burkina Faso - while adding to the urgency for Bafana to show more encouraging and positive form in the Nelson Mandela Challenge match against Egypt on Tuesday night.

Read more on:    senegal  |  bafana bafana  |  kalidou koulibaly  |  soccer
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