Uncapped Sonko in Senegal squad
Senegal coach Henri Kasperczak has named his 23-man squad for this month’s African Nations Cup finals in Ghana.
Ibrahima Sonko is the only uncapped player in the 60-year-old’s squad but the Reading defender is set to make his debut in Saturday’s friendly against Namibia in Dakar.
Kasperczak’s selection contains few surprises although there is only one recognisable right-back, Habib Beye.
There was no place for fellow right-back Pascal Mendy, despite his appearances in recent friendlies as well as last week’s retirement of 34-year-old Ferdinand Coly.
"I have eight defenders so if Beye is injured, we have options. I have thoroughly analysed matters to determine my squad," Kasperczak said.
"It is a shame that Coly retired but he has done a lot for Senegal and I understand his decision."
The former Polish international also reserved praise for defender Pape Malikou Diakhite and striker Demba Ba, both of whom would have made the squad but for injury.
In addition, Kasperczak said he was unconcerned by the fact that central defender Lamine Diatta is currently unattached, having left Turkish club Besiktas by mutual consent last week.
"Diatta is having problems but one must respect his determination, quality and courage: he has lots of experience," the coach announced.
Having selected five goalkeepers when naming his preliminary squad last month, Kasperczak has settled upon Cheikh Tidiane Ndiaye and Bouna Coundoul as back-up for Tony Sylva.
Senegal open their Group D campaign against Tunisia followed by matches against Angola and South Africa.
Goalkeepers: Bouna Coundoul (Colorado Rapids, USA), Cheikh Tidiane Ndiaye (Creteil, France), Tony Sylva (Lille, France)
Defenders: Habib Bèye (Newcastle, England), Lamine Diatta (unattached), Souleymane Diawara (Bordeaux, France), Abdoulaye Diagne Faye (Newcastle Utd, England), Ibrahima Faye (Troyes, France), Guirane Ndaw (Sochaux, France), Mouhamed Adama Sarr (Standard Liège, Belgium), Ibrahima Sonko (Reading, England)
Midfielders: Malick Bâ (FC Basel, Switzerland), Pape Bouba Diop (Portsmouth, England), Diomansy Kamara (Fulham, England), Frédéric Mendy (Bastia, France), Pape Waïgo Ndiaye (Genoa, Italy), Ousmane Ndoye (Academica Coimbra, Portugal), Bayal Sall (St Etienne, France)
Forwards: Henri Camara (West Ham Utd, England), El Hadji Diouf (Bolton Wanderers, England), Mamadou Niang (Marseille, France), Modou Sougou (Uniao Leira, Portugal), Babacar Guèye (Metz, France).