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Page last updated at 12:56 GMT, Monday, 25 August 2008 13:56 UK

Niang's parents urge Lions return

By Piers Edwards
BBC Sport, Dakar

Mamadou Niang
Niang's parents and many other Senegal fans want the striker back
The parents of star Senegalese striker Mamadou Niang have called for their son to end his self-imposed exile from the national team.

Niang's importance to the side was underlined last week when the Teranga Lions looked lightweight in attack during a friendly 0-0 draw in Libya.

In May, the Marseille star wrote to the Senegalese federation asking not to be considered for future matches in 2008, after disillusionment with preparations for this year's Nations Cup.

"It's our dearest wish that Mamadou wears the national jersey again, not only to give him pleasure but his fellow citizens too," Hamidou and Diari Mody Niang told a Senegalese TV station.

Niang's exile has been the subject of much recent discussion in the local media following last Wednesday's match in Libya.

With fellow striker Henri Camara off form up front, many supporters are hoping Niang will return to the national team ahead of next month's key World Cup qualifier in Algeria.

He knows that he needs his country, just as his country needs him

Mamadou Niang's mother, Diari Mody Niang
The 2002 World Cup quarter-finalists must pick up a point in their penultimate Group 6 qualifier to ease their passage into the final round of qualifying for South Africa 2010.

"Only God knows if he will play against Algeria and it's something we will discuss when we return to France," said his mother, currently visiting Dakar from her European base.

"But he knows that he needs his country, just as his country needs him."

National coach Lamine Ndiaye has said Niang, who finished second-highest scorer in France last season, can only be selected after he writes a letter to the federation ending his exile.

Many expect Niang to bury the hatchet this week, with Ndiaye set to name his squad for the 5 September clash in Algeria imminently.

Senegal currently top Group 6 of the 2010 Nations Cup and World Cup qualifiers with eight points, two clear of second-placed Algeria with just two rounds of matches left.

see also
Niang left out of Senegal squad
21 May 08 |  African
2010 World Cup Qualifiers
22 Jun 08 |  African

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