WCQ: Senegal retains majority of Afcon winners ahead of Egypt game

Coach Aliou Cisse has largely maintained the squad that helped Senegal clinch their maiden Nations Cup title for the 2022 World Cup play-off against Egypt.

Cisse named a 26-man squad on Friday for two-legged play-off between the 2021 Africa Cup of Nation finalists, for a spot at the global showpiece event in Qatar.

Goalkeeper Bingourou Kamara has been recalled as keepers Alfred Gomis of Rennes and QPR’s Seny Dieng both miss out due to injury.

Youssouf Sabaly also returns to the squad with Bologna defender Ibrahima Mbaye and France-based Joseph Lopy left out after helping Senegal win its first-ever Nations Cup last month.

“I have total confidence in my group and I have decided to stick with continuity,” Cisse said at a press conference on Friday.

“Winning an African Cup is not an end in itself because we all share a common goal and objective of playing at the World Cup again.”

“We have a lot of respect for the Egyptian team who had chances to win the final, but we now have two finals in front of us with the same team.”

Senegal will be looking to established stars like Sadio Mane of Liverpool, Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, Watford’s Ismaïla Sarr and Idrissa Gueye of Paris Saint-Germain as they bid for second consecutive World Cup appearance.

In a play-off billed as a battle between Liverpool forwards Mane and Egypt captain Mohamed Salah, the latter has a chance for revenge after the heartbreak of losing the Nations Cup final in Cameroon.

Egypt will host the first leg of the World Cup play-off in Cairo on 25 March, with the return in Dakar four days later.

Africa’s most successful side with seven titles, the Pharaohs are aiming to reach their fourth World Cup, while Senegal are chasing a third appearance.

Both sides went to the last World Cup in Russia in 2018, going out in the group stage.

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