Sadio Mane, Edouard Mendy and Kalidou Koulibaly have been named in the Senegal squad for the Africa Cup of Nations.
Liverpool forward Mane, the reigning African Footballer of the Year, will be key to Senegal’s hopes of winning a first continental title after finishing runners-up at the last edition in Egypt in 2019.
Coach Aliou Cisse has selected 27 players for the tournament in Cameroon, including captain Koulibaly of Napoli and Watford’s Ismaila Sarr, despite their recent injury problems.
The 30-year-old Koulibaly suffered a thigh strain at the start of the month in Serie A with Napoli and had been ruled out for December, putting his participation at a third successive Africa Cup of Nations in doubt.
Sarr has not played since hurting his knee in Watford’s 4-1 win over Manchester United last month, and was expected to be sidelined until February.
But Cisse has taken a chance on both recovering before for the tournament, where Senegal start their Group B campaign against Zimbabwe in Bafoussam on January 10. They also take on Guinea and Malawi in the opening round.
Cisse also selected Crystal Palace’s Chiekhou Kouyate and Leicester’s Nampalys Mendy from the Premier League.
Paris Saint-Germain duo Idrissa Gana Gueye – previously of Everton – and Abdou Diallo are among the other notable inclusions, along with Cagliari’s Keita Balde.
Senegal’s full squad for AFCON
Goalkeepers: Seny Dieng (Queens Park Rangers), Alfred Gomis (Stade Rennes), Edouard Mendy (Chelsea)
Defenders: Fode Ballo-Toure (AC Milan), Saliou Ciss (Nancy), Pape Abou Cisse (Olympiakos), Abdou Diallo (Paris Saint-Germain), Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli), Cheikhou Kouyate (Crystal Palace), Ibrahima Mbaye (Bologna), Bouna Sarr (Bayern Munich), Abdoulaye Seck (Antwerp)
Midfielders: Idrissa Gana Gueye (Paris Saint-Germain), Pape Gueye (Olympique Marseille), Joseph Lopy (Socahux), Mamadou Loum (Deportivo Alaves), Nampalys Mendy (Leicester City), Moustapha Name (Paris FC), Pape Matar Sarr (Metz)
Forwards: Keita Balde (Cagliari), Boulaye Dia (Villarreal), Famara Diedhiou (Alanayspor), Habib Diallo (Racing Strasbourg), Bamba Dieng (Olympique Marseille), Sadio Mane (Liverpool), Ismaila Sarr (Watford), Mame Baba Thiam (Kayserispor).