Coming into this World Cup, Senegal had lofty ambitions of what they could achieve. Sadio Mane spearheaded the side and took them all the way to AFCON glory. The former Liverpool man has just been announced as injured and he is set to miss the whole tournament. Sheffield United and Senegal youngster Iliman Ndiaye could be the man to step up to the plate.
Senegal Youngster Iliman Ndiaye to Replace the Impact of Sadio Mane
How Will Ndiaye Fit Into the Plans
As previously mentioned, the injury to Sadio Mane is the biggest of blows. There have been a number of major players to withdraw in these final stages, including Christopher Nkunku and Reece James, but this may be the biggest of the lot. Mane sustained a knock whilst donning a Bayern Munich jersey and he has been unable to recover from this, despite being named in the final squad.
One could even go as far to say that they are over-reliant on Mane. The following is as per @seeingthegame. “Senegal has the highest reliance on 1 single player for goal production as Sadio Mane accounts for 29% of their team’s goals and assists in all competitive matches this World Cup cycle. He comes in with 15 goals and 10 assists.”
Iliman Ndiaye 🇸🇳
Ready to surprise people at this World Cup. pic.twitter.com/i8sXla8vun
— The Second Tier (@secondtierpod) November 18, 2022
Whilst Mane may be the main man, there are other forward players who can make the difference. Former Marseille striker Boulaye Dia is one of those and there is also a trio of Championship players, two current and one former. The former in question is Famara Diedhiou, who played for Bristol City between 2017 and 2021.
Onto the other two and they are Iliman Ndiaye (Sheffield United) and Ismaila Sarr (Watford). Sarr was signed for big money by the Hornets and despite them facing relegation, he remains on board. Now for Senegal youngster Iliman Ndiaye and he is the pick of the bunch. Ndiaye has just two caps to his name and so is certainly one for the future, but no better time like the present given Mane’s status.
All about Senegal Youngster Iliman Ndiaye
Ndiaye is another name who is particularly familiar to the fans of the EFL. He swapped France for England, going from Marseille to Boreham Wood in an odd twist of fate, by way of Senegal. After three years plying his trade at Meadow Park, he earnt that big break. Bramall Lane was his location after that and he is now something of a Sheffield United cult hero.
A brilliant season so far. ⭐️😮💨
— Sheffield United (@SheffieldUnited) November 17, 2022
The Blades have had issues with bridging the gap in the final third as Billy Sharp enters the twilight stages of his career. Morgan Gibbs-White has moved on to pastures new and Senegal youngster Iliman Ndiaye is one of those next on the production line. He is yet to score for his country but he contributed to 9 league goal contributions last term, and he has already reached 9 goals and 2 assists in his 2022/23 haul.
Ndiaye and Sarr either side of a recognised striker could cause some real issues this winter. The Dutch are favourites to win out in group A and so the task for Senegal gets even harder in the absence of Mane. If they are to pip Qatar and Ecuador to the post, Ndiaye could well be the difference maker for Aliou Cisse’s side.