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Senegal Select Diop for October Friendlies

But will they take place?

MLS: Montreal Impact at New York Red Bulls
Clement Diop is called up by Senegal for the first time since 2017.
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Montreal Impact goalkeeper Clement Diop received some good news this week being called up by the Senegalese national team for the first time since late 2017.

But you wonder with the state of the world today if the games will take place. Both are friendly encounters, the first against Morocco in Rabat on 9 October, the second at home in Thies against Mauritania four days later.

It’s difficult to imagine players travelling to the venues mentioned for friendly matches given tightening Covid restrictions across many countries. What’s the point in playing friendlies under the current circumstances and introducing risks that don’t need to be taken?

It will be interesting to see what will happen with other players in the Senegal squad. While it would be great experience for Diop to mix with some really high quality players, you wonder how the likes of Liverpool (Sadio Mane), Chelsea (Edouard Mendy), Napoli (Kalidou Coulibaly), PSG (Idrissa Gana Gueye), Crystal Palace (Cheik Kouyate) and Watford (Ismaila Sarr) will react to their players being selected for the friendlies.

Liverpool v Arsenal - Premier League
Liverpool’s Sadio Mane. Hard to believe the Anfield club would let their star player travel for two international friendlies.
Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

It’s highly unlikely that any of these clubs will release their players for the games under current circumstances. Watford’s Sarr is also the subject of hardening transfer speculation from Manchester United.

Remember only last month Finland omitted both Lassi Lappalainen and Jukka Raitala from their squad for games against Wales and the Republic of Ireland. It was a reasonable position for the Finnish association to take given certain Covid restrictions in place. Bear in mind too, those were competitive fixtures in the Nations League, and not merely friendlies.

For the same reason, both Impact players are expected not to be selected for Finland’s squad for next weekend’s Nations League meetings with Bulgaria and Wales (again).

In the unlikely event Diop travels you can’t help reflecting back to the Bush departure and its timing, although it would give an opportunity to James Pantemis between the sticks. Diop could miss up to five MLS games.

While Montreal Impact will be happy with Diop’s international inclusion, they’ll not be keen for him to travel under current circumstances. Perhaps even the player is dubious about going.

The Senegalese FA could put an end to this issue by either cancelling the fixtures or including only locally African-based players.

Diop was last selected towards the end of 2017, for five World Cup qualifiers, during which he sat on the bench as understudy mainly to Khadim N-Diaye but also Alfred Gomis.