Afcon 2021: Mendy and Koulibaly ruled out of Senegal opener against Zimbabwe

Senegal will be without goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and defender Kalidou Koulibaly for their opening game at the Africa Cup of Nations after both players tested positive for coronavirus.

The Teranga Lions, runners-up at the 2019 edition of the tournament, face Zimbabwe in their opening Group B game on Monday.

Chelsea keeper Mendy, centre-back Koulibaly and striker Famara Diedhiou have all gone into isolation.

Coach Aliou Cisse said: “It’s a difficult and complicated situation.”

Cisse looks set to have just 17 players available for the match in Bafoussam because of several Covid-19 cases and injuries.

“We are going to be competitive and those there are going to play for those who are absent. We are still going into the game against Zimbabwe full of confidence,” he noted.

Senegal’s Group B opponents Guinea and Malawi, who meet on Monday, have also lost players to positive tests while Moroccan pair Aymen Barkok and Auyoub El Kaabi are out of their Group C opener against Ghana in Yaounde on Monday.

Nations Cup rules state countries must play if they have 11 players available – even if they do not have a recognised goalkeeper.

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Herman Nnyanzi 'The Analyst' is a Ugandan multimedia sports journalist who started his career in 2017. He has a genuine strong love for sports and expertise, especially football. Contact me on +256704472629 or +256786403603

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