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Senegal hand Adama Mbengue late invitation

10:17 AM GMT 18/06/2018
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The Teranga Lions have called up the Caen left-back after Saliou Ciss was declared unfit for the tournament

Senegal have made a late adjustment to their final 23-man squad, calling up Adama Mbengue to replace defender Saliou Ciss, who could not heal in time from an ankle injury sustained during the team’s friendly match with Luxembourg last the week.

The Teranga Lions were able to make the change under Fifa rules which states that a team can replace an injured player 24 hours before their first match at the tournament.

Senegal will open their campaign against Robert Lewandowski-led Poland in Group H on Tuesday.

Mbengue, who plays for French club Caen, initially figured on a long list released by coach Aliou Cisse but was relegated to the reserve unit and eventually dropped.

“It’s a dream come true to play at the World Cup. There are great players and great teams like Germany, Brazil and France, who are favourites. And in this kind of competition, we don’t only represent Senegal but Africa,” Mbengue told Goal.

The 24-year-old strongly believes in the chances of the Lions in Group H which also contains Colombia and Japan.

“I believe in our team and I’m very confident we would give our all to be among the best. We have a fair group and I believe we can be among the first two.”

Senegal pulled off a shock in the 2002 edition of the Fifa World Cup held in Japan and Korea, defeating then defending champions France in their opening game and went on to reach the quarterfinals.