AFCON 2021: Mendy, Koulibaly back as Senegal push for knockout slot - Latest football news in Uganda
May 26, 2022

AFCON 2021: Mendy, Koulibaly back as Senegal push for knockout slot

By Allan Damba
Senegal players warm up before a training session | Courtesy photo

Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and defensive colossus Kalidou Koulibaly will make a return for Senegal as they look to get past Malawi and book a knockout slot in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

The pair sat out the Lions of Teranga’s first two games, a 1-0 win over Zimbabwe and a barren stalemate with Guinea due to COVID-19.

However, they returned to training on Sunday and could feature in the Tuesday bout at the Bafoussam Omnisport Stadium, Kouekong.

The two teams come into the game separated by a point. Senegal is second in Group B on four points, with Malawi in third on three points, and a win will see either through to the round of 16. 

However, a share of spoils could see both teams progress into the knockout stages, pending results from the Guinea-Zimbabwe game.

Against Guinea, Aliou Cisse’s men put up an unconvincing performance, similar to their opening fixture against Zimbabwe where they needed a last-gasp penalty from Sadio Mane to come away with all three points.

This will be the first meeting between the two at the AFCON. However, their prior meetings have all been in favour of the West African Giants, with Malawi yet to master a win in this fixture.

Unbeaten in eight games across all competitions, Senegal will back themselves to continue their supremacy in this fixture and cap off their group-stage campaign on a high.

Malawi got the better of Zimbabwe in a narrow 2-1 triumph on Friday to kickstart their AFCON, following an opening-day defeat to Guinea.

Despite going behind to Ishmael Wadi’s opener, the Flames hit back through two goals from Gabadinho Mhango to claim all three points.

As a result, Meke Mwase’s men have given their chances of qualification into the next round a huge boost and will be keen to finish the job on Tuesday.

Senegal’s Nampalys Mendy was named on the bench last time out after missing the opening game due to COVID-19, and the midfielder could be handed a starting spot in this one.

Alfred Gomis has also been cleared to feature once again but Eduardo Mendy is expected to start between the sticks.

 Gomezgani Chirwa picked up a minor injury in the closing stages of Malawi’s last outing, but the 25-year-old should be fit enough to take part on Tuesday.

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