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Africa Cup of Nations Qualification

Senegal coach Aliou Cisse challenges striker Mbaye Niang to rise up ahead of Afcon qualifier

4:40 am AEDT 17/11/18
Mbaye Niang Gen Shoji Senegal Japan World Cup 2018 240618
The 23-year-old forward has not been consistent for Senegal and Rennes this year although he has contributed crucial goals especially for Senegal.

Senegal coach Aliou Cisse has implored striker Mbaye Niang to balance his club and national team form as the Teranga Lions prepare to take on Equatorial Guinea away in Saturday’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier.

With Niang’s Rennes and Senegal teammate Ismaila Sarr doubtful for the Equatorial Guinea match with an ankle injury, the former France youth international is almost sure to start.

Niang scored Senegal’s winning goal in the 2-1 win over Poland at the Fifa World Cup in June.

He also weighed in with a goal in the 3-0 demolition of South Sudan last month as Senegal edged closer to Afcon qualification.

But he has been struggling for form with Rennes, having managed just one goal in nine appearances so far  this season.

“Mbaye is a boy who has quality,” Cisse was quoted as saying by Galsenfoot.

“He must continue to work. I had to tell him face to face. He has a lot of potential. He is an exceptional footballer.

“He must be in a team like Rennes (12th, 16 pts). He must help his club out of this red zone. He must score for Rennes, but also for the national team of Senegal. He must be aware of his qualities and stop wasting time.”

Senegal have already qualified for the Afcon finals with two games to spare and Cisse has pointed that they are using the remaining fixtures to prepare for the tournament to be staged in Cameroon.