Pedigree Africa has not produced a quarterfinalist since Ghana’s encounter with Uruguay’s Luis Suárez in 2010. Senegal — which made it that far in its World Cup debut in 2002 — has the quality to break that streak. Coach Aliou Cissé’s team arrives in Qatar not just as the continent’s champion, but its standard-bearer.

Ambition Cissé’s squad is arguably as well balanced as any in the competition, the traditional favorites apart. Édouard Mendy is an elite goalkeeper, Kalidou Koulibaly has been one of the game’s finest defenders for a decade, there is an abundance of industry in the midfield, and the attack will be led — in theory — by Sadio Mané. The last 16 should really be the minimum.

Key Question Everything hinges on Mané. He was subbed out during Bayern Munich’s penultimate game ahead of the World Cup after taking what his coach described as “a blow to the head of his shin.” If he is healthy, Senega


Senegal’s Qatar 2022 squad

Goalkeepers Edouard Mendy (Chelsea) Alfred Mendy (Stade Rennais) Seny Dieng (Queens Park Rangers)

Defenders Youssouf Sabaly (Real Betis) Abdou Diallo (RB Leipzig) Kalidou Koulibaly (Chelsea) Fode Ballo-Toure (Milan AC) Pape Abou Cisse (Olympiakos) Ismail Jakobs (AS Monaco) Formose Mendy (Amiens SC)


Midfielders Idrissa Gana Gueye (Everton) Cheikhou Kouyate (Nottingham Forest) Nampalys Mendy (Leicester City) Krepin Diatta (AS Monaco) Pape Gueye (Olympique de Marseille) Pape Matar Sarr (Tottenham) Pathe Ciss (Rayo Vallecano) Moustapha Name (Paphos FC) Loum Ndiaye (FC Porto)

Forwards Sadio Mane (Bayern Munich) Ismaila Sarr (Watford FC) Boulaye Dia (Villarreal) Bamba Dieng (Olympique de Marseille) Famara Diedhiou (Alanyaspor) Nicolas Jackson (Villarreal) Iliman Ndiaye (Sheffield United)


Aliou Cisse: “I chose a team that can meet the demands of this competition. We gained experience in 2018 and through our continental championships. We are going to Qatar, aware of our qualities and above all with high ambitions.”

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