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Page last updated at 16:27 GMT, Tuesday, 7 October 2008 17:27 UK

Senegal coach explains exclusions

By Piers Edwards
BBC Sport, Dakar

Senegal coach Lamin Ndiaye
Senegal coach Lamin Ndiaye is preparing to face The Gambia

Senegal coach Lamin Ndiaye has explained why he did not select Mamadou Niang and Souleymane Diawara for Saturday's 2010 World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against The Gambia.

With the pair having excused themselves from all five of Senegal's 2010 qualifiers so far, Ndiaye was reluctant to oust those who have been present from the start.

"I have a philosophy and I will stick to that until the end," the former international told BBC Sport.

"The desire for cohesion lay behind the decision, as did solidarity because this squad has been there since May so there was no reason to throw some of them out now."

Fully aware of what is at stake, the coach has called upon Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade to attend Saturday's match in Dakar against their neighbours.

"The head of state's presence at the stadium would be a source of exceptional motivation for the players," he urged.

The theme has been taken up by some of the players themselves, including Ukraine-based centre-back Pape Malickou Diakhaté.

"We need all the Senegalese people to come to the stadium on Saturday because if we win, it is going to be good for all Senegalese," the Dynamo Kiev star told BBC Sport.

It's a choice for the coach and we have to respect that

Pape Malickou Diakhaté

"Don't forget that if we lose this game, we will spend perhaps three years without any competitive matches which would be very bad for the next generation of youngsters.

"So it is very important for Senegalese football that we win this game."

Should the 2002 World Cup quarter-finalists fail to win on Saturday, their next competitive match would not be until late 2010 when qualifying for the 2012 Nations Cup is likely to get underway.

As for the absence of Niang and Diawara, Diakhaté refused to be drawn on a topic that has dominated Senegal's sporting pages in recent months.

"It's a choice for the coach and we have to respect that," said the 24-year-old.

"I was not surprised by the decision because we started with one group and since the beginning, we've only lost once - which is nothing."

However last month's defeat to Algeria has left the Teranga Lions third in their group, lying behind Gambia's Scorpions on goal difference only but trailing the Algerians by a point.

Saturday's match is a winner-takes-all affair, because the Gambians will qualify for the next round if they can beat Senegal for the first time since 1962.

see also
Senegal snub for Niang, Diawara
03 Oct 08 |  African
2010 World Cup Qualifiers
22 Jun 08 |  African

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