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Mane, Other Saudi-Based Players Called Up for Senegal, Algeria Clash

FILE — Al-Nassr's Senegalese Forward Sadio Mane dribbles the ball during the AFC Champions League playoff against Shabab Al-Ahli in Riyadh, Aug. 22, 2023.

DAKAR — Aliou Cisse, the head coach for Senegal’s national football team Friday announced including Sadio Mane and other Saudi Arabia based star players in his team set to face Algeria on Sept. 12.

Speaking to media Friday, Cisse announced changing his mind on previous plans to exclude players based in Saudi Arabia from his squad that will face Algeria, due to doubts over the quality of the Saudi Pro League.

An updated team list showed the reigning African champions including players such as goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, defenders Kalidou Koulibaly, Abdou Diallo and strikers Sadio Mane and Habib Diallo – all who recently moved from European clubs to the Saudi Pro League.

Cisse said the Saudi league has dramatically improved due to its recruitment of world class players.

"The situation has changed," Cisse said, adding, "when I see their matches, I’m rather reassured."

Before their Sept. 12 friendly game against Algeria, Senegal will face Rwanda in their final qualifier for the next African Cup of Nations, AFCON, to be held in Ivory Coast.

Local media report Cisse may field a "B team" against Rwanda which will mainly consist of upcoming players, due to Senegal already securing qualification to the regional tournament.

Senegal hosted the first leg of their AFCON qualifier against Rwanda, having reneged on an agreement to travel to the East African nation due to their lack of an official stadium, however the West African team finally agreed to make the trip after announcing that they will be sending a young squad.