VOA’s James Butty spoke to Ibrahima Ndiaye, the senior editor at Le Soleil, on Senegal’s chances of proceeding to the next round of World Cup 2022,
The interview was edited for brevity and clarity.
VOA: How did African football fans react to Senegal’s loss in their opening fixture against Netherlands?
Ndiaye: Fans were very disappointed because Senegal lost the game in the dying minutes and had potential to emerge victorious.
Senegal played extremely well in the first half of the game but unfortunately the lack of experience in the squad and tactical decisions taken by the head coach led to the result.
Hopefully Senegal can improve in the upcoming games because next they go up against the host nation Qatar and then after will be Ecuador who defeated the hosts in their opening game.
VOA: When you refer to tactical decisions, are you talking about decisions made by head coach Aliou Cisse?
Alalibo: Definitely! The squad has a mixture of seasoned and young players and I believe Cisse should have placed trust in the seasoned players to start the fixture. When Abdou Diallo was substituted he was replaced with another young Germany based player .You should not be prioritizing young players like this in the first match.
This should have been an easy fixture for Senegal because they are a team filled with potential and that should show by producing results as the World Cup proceeds.
VOA: Did not having Sadio Mane contribute to the outcome?
Alalibo: Yes. As I was watching the game, everyone around me kept saying we miss Sadio Mane and expressed belief that if the star player was around things would be different.
The team failed to play against Virgil van Dijk who used to play with Sadio Mane at Liverpool. He made it very hard for the Senegalese. We definitely miss Sadio Mane, but we hope things will change in his absence.