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It may seem counter-intuitive that three of my five ‘nations who could impress’ failed to qualify for the recent Cup of Nations. The surprising thing is not that I am championing these nations, but that with the resources available to them, they failed to book their place to South Africa 2013.
Senegal, of course, like Egypt, have an excuse—CAF’s slightly hurried qualification system saw the Lions of Teranga drawn against the giants of the Ivory Coast.
A 4-2 thriller in Abidjan gave the Elephants the advantage, before a Drogba double in Dakar saw the Ivorians ease to qualification. The ugly scenes that followed suggest that the relationship between the public and the national side is not all it could be; indeed, the West Africans have been flattering to deceive for sometime now.
The generation of Diao, Diouf, et. al., the legends of 2002, have gently been eased out of the side, and a new breed of Senegalese talents playing their football right across the globe are taking the responsibility for the side’s fortunes. As usual, the bulk of the squad are seasoned professionals, plugging away in the French leagues, while there are a handful of stars who could make the difference in the upper echelons of international football.
Newcastle United fans are well aware of the devastating capabilities of Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse, and the pair could well lead the Lions of Teranga to the glamour and glory of Brazil.
Ed can be contacted on Twitter @Eddydove