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African All Stars

Koulibaly never regretted dumping France for Senegal even after World Cup glory

07:14 WAT 19/11/2021
Kalidou Koulibaly Senegal World Cup 2018
After playing for the French youth teams, the Napoli defender ditched the European country to play for the Lions of Teranga six years ago

Kalidou Koulibaly said he does not regret pledging his international allegiance to Senegal, even after France won the 2018 Fifa World Cup.

Since his debut outing against Namibia in September 2015, Koulibaly has made himself a key player for the Lions of Teranga and he currently wears the captain’s armband in Aliou Cisse’s team.

Born and raised in France by Senegalese parents, the Napoli star revealed that the decision to ignore Les Bleus was not a tough one and he hopes to achieve the World Cup feat with the West African country.

"It's a choice I've been thinking about for a whole year, whether to play with Senegal or France,” Koulibaly told Calciomercato.

“Then with the help of my parents, my friends the decision came almost natural.

“When I'm with the other players I feel at home. I have never regretted it, not even in 2018 when France won the World Cup. Maybe if I had been there the cup would not have arrived, I believe in people's destiny.

“They deserved it and I am very happy for France but I hope that one day I will raise it with Senegal.”

Koulibaly played every minute of Senegal's matches in the second round of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers and his defensive contributions helped the country advance to the final play-off stage with an unbeaten record of five wins and a draw in six games.

He went further to explain the meaning of the Senegalese national team nickname.

"Why are we the Lions of Teranga? Teranga is the land of welcome, everyone must feel at home. When a guest comes we want him to feel at home,” he continued.

“I was lucky enough to bring two Neapolitan friends to Senegal and when they arrived there they were surprised because they said 'Look, they treat you better than they do with their families’.

“I told them that is the Teranga spirit, you have to feel like you are in your family, in your home. to say that our mission is accomplished”.

Following their successful outing during the international break, Koulibaly will turn his attention to Serie A and he will be focused on helping Napoli maintain their lead at the top of the table when they travel to the San Siro Stadium to face Inter Milan on Sunday.