Senegal Captain Calls Out Young Players To Step Up

Kalidou Koulibaly
Kalidou Koulibaly

In the wake of their 2022 FIFA World Cup opening-game defeat, Senegal captain Kalidou Koulibaly has urged the youngsters in the team to step up at the tournament.

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Missed chances came back to haunt the Lions of Teranga in their tournament opener against the Netherlands after Aliou Cisse's men conceded two late goals to lose 2-0 to their Group A rivals in Doha.

The African champions, who are without superstar forward Sadio Mane for the tournament due to injury, relied on Ismaila Sarr, Kreppin Diatta and Boulaye Dia to bag the goals.

A relatively inexperienced forward line, the trio were unable to find the back of the Dutch net, with the west Africans going on to lose an opening World Cup game for the first time.

With a crucial encounter against host nation Qatar on the horizon, captain Koulibaly has insisted that the African giants' younger players need to stand up and be counted if they are to progress to the knockout stages for only the second time in their history.

"We are still determined because we know that there is something that we can still achieve during this World Cup and we still believe in our chances," the Chelsea defender told the media, as per Goal.

"Our young players will have to show themselves during the next two games. They have to be in their best form to be able to produce in a big match that we have next against Qatar.

"We should have drawn against the Netherlands team. We knew it was going to be decided by the little details. When we lost Cheikhou Kouyate to injury, it was difficult. Losing players like that in the middle of a match is a bit tough.

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"However, we tried to play our football. It's a shame we couldn't score that first goal because we had chances. Now we have two finals to play. We are going to give everything against Qatar to be able to play a decider against Ecuador.

"I think that, in defence, we were solid. We showed some good things, and the 2-0 scoreline did not reflect the game. But at top-level football it's like that."

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