DAKAR (Reuters) – Former French junior internationals Cheikh Mbengue and Armand Traore, who recently switched international allegiance, have been included in Senegal’s 23-man squad for next month’s African Nations Cup finals.
Senegal are the first country to name their squad for the 16-team tournament starting on Jan. 21, co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
Coach Amara Traore, who signed a three-year contract extension on Tuesday, included Toulouse’s Mbengue and Traore of Queen’s Park Rangers in his final list, having convinced the pair to commit their international futures to the west African country.
Traore called his squad a “mix of youth and experience” as he made the announcement at a news conference in Dakar.
Senegal start preparations from Jan. 8 and play pre-tournament friendlies against Sudan on Jan. 12 and Tunisia on Jan. 14, both in Dakar.
Senegal are among the pre-tournament favourites and begin their campaign against Zambia in Group A on the opening day of the tournament, before also playing Libya and Equatorial Guinea in the pool phase.
The squad includes six players who competed at the 2008 finals in Ghana, where Senegal made their last appearance at the Nations Cup tournament.
Goalkeepers: Bouna Coundoul (New York Red Bulls), Khadim Ndiaye (ASC Linguere), Pape Latyr Ndiaye (US Ouakam)
Defenders: Omar Daf (Stade Brest), Pape Malickou Diakhate (Grenada), Souleymane Diawara (Olympique Marseille), Jacques Faty (Sivasspor), Kader Mangane (Stade Rennes), Cheikh Mbengue (Toulouse), Armand Traore (Queens Park Rangers), Mustapha Bayal Sall (Doincaster Rovers), Lamine Sane (Girodins Bordeaux)
Midfielders: Issiar Dia (Fenerbahce), Remi Gomis (Valenciennes), Mohamed Diame (Wigan Athletic), Guirane Ndaw (Birmingham City)
Forwards: Demba Ba (Newcastle United), Souleymane Camara (Montpellier), Papiss Demba Cisse (SC Freiburg), Ndiaye Deme Ndiaye (Arles-Avignon), Dame Ndoye (FC Copenhagen), Mamadou Niang (Al Sadd), Moussa Sow (Lille)
- African Nations Cup: Morocco, Sudan take final places
- Michel quits as coach of African Nations Cup hosts
- Nigeria, S.Africa fail to reach Nations Cup
- Morocco are new hosts of African Olympic qualifiers
- Ivory Coast and Ghana top Nations Cup seeds