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World Cup: Aliou Cisse admits to Senegal squad selection headache

3:45 PM GMT 19/05/2018
Aliou Cisse Senegal London 04232012
Senegal coach Aliou Cisse spoke about the difficulty he had in finalizing his World Cup squad

The former PSG utility player has justified his team selection and especially jumped to defend the omission of Nantes striker Santy Ngom.

Besides Ngom, other notable exclusions from the squad include Crystal Palace full-back Pape Souare, Newcastle United’s Mohamed Diame, Saint-Etienne left-back Cheikh Mbengue and Pape Kouly Diop of La Liga side Eibar.

“It is difficult (selecting the squad), but I have to make choices,” Cisse was quoted as saying by AfrikFoot.

But it is the snubbing of Ngom which Cisse has rushed to defend most.

Ngom appeared to have done enough to impress the coach after being handed his debut in an international friendly against Uzbekistan, and for another match against Bosnia-Herzegovina in March.

“Santy is a young player I took into the team and at the time everyone was wondering who he was. But today, compared to Sadio Mané or Mbaye Niang, he is a boy who plays little at his club.”

Other strikers settled for by Cisse include Keita Balde, Mame Biram Diouf, Moussa Konate, Diafra Sakho and veteran Bursaspor forward Moussa Sow.

The Teranga Lions will gear-up for the World Cup with friendly matches against Luxembourg, Croatia and South Korea before their Group H campaign at the tournament against Poland, Japan and Colombia.

Senegal return to the World Cup for the first time since 2002 after having missed three editions of the global quadrennial football showpiece.

Cisse will be one of the only two native African coaches in Russia together with Tunisia’s Nabil Maaloul.