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Sadio Mane, Edouard Mendy, Kalidou Koulibaly; Panic As Senegal’s Key Players Struggle 8 Weeks to World Cup
- Senegal will be carrying the hopes of the majority of African fans when they head to Qatar for the World Cup in November
- The African Champions will open their campaign against the Netherlands before playing Ecuador and Qatar
- However, there is a little sense of disquiet with Aliou Cisse's squad with his star players struggling at the moment at their professional clubs
With the FIFA World Cup now barely two months away, African football lovers and particularly Senegal fans are losing sleep over the loss of form of the star players in Aliou Cisse's squad.
Cisse led Senegal to its maiden Africa Cup of Nations title at the start of this year after beating Egypt on post-match penalties. They then beat the same opponents to book their spot in Qatar.
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The Teranga Lions will be the continent's hope at the event after getting a favourable group on paper. They are set to face the Netherlands, hosts Qatar and South American opposition Ecuador in Group A.
Cisse's team has always been made of elite professionals who often ply their trade in Europe's top leagues. But if the recent dip in form of his top stars is anything to go by, then the dreadlocked tactician needs to be worried.
Sadio Mane at Bayern Munich
Despite starting life in a new club and league on a positive note, Sadio Mane has found the going tough in recent times. Mane last scored against Viktoria Koln in the DFB Pokal on August 31st. Bayern Munich head coach Julian Nagelsmann recently admitted that the former Liverpool star will need a little bit more time to find his feet.
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Just as Mane has been a reassuring source of goals for Cisse's side, Kalidou Koulibaly has been an impenetrable wall at the back. Rarely putting a foot wrong. Just like Mane, he switched leagues, moving on to the more demanding Premier League.
Kalidou Koulibaly at Chelsea
The 31-year-old has since been red carded in his short time in England. But that's not where its at, he has so far struggled to replicate the imperious form that saw Chelsea buy him. To his credit, he did score a wonderful debut goal in the London derby against Tottenham Hotspur. But aside from that, he is yet to cope with the demands of the league, often leaving Thiago Silva to do most of the donkey work.
He was absent from Graham Potter's first Chelsea starting lineup as he was forced to watch from the bench. He'll need to convince the new manager that he is the Kommandante as his social media bios previously depicted.
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Edouard Mendy at Chelsea
The same lethargy has gotten hold of Edouard Mendy in the Chelsea goal. Mendy has only kept one clean sheet so far and has been on the receiving end of very questionable goalkeeping. He gifted Brendan Aaronson a cheap goal away to Leeds before the Video Assistant referee saved his blushes against West Ham.
It also doesn't help the talk of Potter might prefer Kepa Arrizabalaga who is better at using his feet than Mendy. Should Potter drop Mendy, it could further complicate his fitness ahead of Qatar.
Sadly, there is nothing Cisse can do. There is only one international break before the winter bonanza. The head coach can, however look for possible alternatives such as Villarreal's Nicolas Jackson, who has shown great potential under Unai Emery.
Tick Tock Senegal. Africa is watching.
Bayern Munich's head coach sends a strong message to Sadio Mane
Sports Brief had earlier reported that Sadio Mane is under severe pressure following another abysmal display during Bayern Munich's 2-0 victory over Barcelona on Tuesday night.
While Leroy Sane and Lucas Henandez were on target to secure the maximum points for the Bavarians at the Allianz Arena, Mane failed to make an impact in the game.
The former Liverpool forward was hooked off after 70 minutes for Serge Gnabry after he failed to register a single shot on goal against the Catalan giants.