Despite having a rough start to the World Cup, goalkeeper Edouard Mendy has the full confidence of Senegal coach Aliou Cisse.
Mendy, who Cisse described as having a steely resolve and who was expected to play against Qatar on Friday in their second Group A match, was possibly at fault for both goals in his team’s opening 2-0 loss to the Netherlands. The loss has given the African champions plenty to do in order to advance out of a group that also features an Ecuadorian team that dominated the hosts Qatar in their first game.
It also continues a trying time for Mendy, who has struggled to get playing time this season at Chelsea because Graham Potter, the new manager, has favoured Kepa Arrizabalaga.
However, Cisse is confidence in his goalkeeper’s mental toughness, therefore his position in the Senegal lineup remains unaffected.
Edouard is doing very well, Cisse told reporters on Thursday. “He has a steely resolve,” he added.
“Edouard’s qualities speak for themselves; I don’t believe anyone is doubting him. He occasionally experiences highs and lows, but he always has my complete and total trust, as well as the trust of his teammates. He will play on the field tomorrow.
Up until Frenkie de Jong’s cross was curved invitingly into the box in the 84th minute of the match against the Netherlands, it appeared that the game would end in a tie. Cody Gakpo snuck in to take the ball home as Mendy came to collect but failed to even touch it. Deep into stoppage time, Davy Klaassen was given a clear shot when the goalkeeper parried a rather soft shot into his path. Kalidou Koulibaly, a center back for Senegal and a teammate of Mendy’s at Chelsea, claimed that people were overreacting to the goalkeeper’s performance.
It is normal to go through difficult stages – I think we are making a mountain out of a mole hill here, he added. “We play at the same club and we are also brothers in arms for Senegal. Edouard is a very important player for us.
Senegal was the African champion in February after defeating Egypt on penalties; Friday’s opponents, Qatar, are the Asian champions, depriving Senegal of their top attacking talent due to Sadio Mane’s injury in the run-up to the event. If Cisse’s team loses on Friday, they are unlikely to improve upon their group stage elimination from four years ago.
Koulibaly remarked, “We’re up against it, but we’re Lions, the Lions of Teranga.
“We’ll do anything to keep the dream alive and enable the aspirations of the Senegalese people. We don’t want to let the people of Senegal down. Tomorrow’s behavior and mindset will undoubtedly resemble that of warriors.