Sakho earns Senegal recall for vital World Cup qualifier

Diafra Sakho


Diafra Sakho has been recalled to the Senegal squad for a vital FIFA World Cup qualifier in the Cape Verde Islands.

The West Ham United striker is named in Aliou Cisse’s 26-man selection for the tie, which will be played at the National Stadium in Praia on Saturday 7 October.

Senegal go into the game sitting third in African qualifying Group D, a point behind leaders Burkina Faso and second-place Cape Verde Islands. With just the group winners reaching Russia 2018, the Lions of Teranga need to repeat the 2-0 victory they achieved over Cape Verde in the reverse fixture eleven months ago.

However, Senegal have a game in-hand on their rivals as their 2-1 defeat in South Africa has been ordered to be replayed after the referee was found guilty of 'match manipulation'. They complete their qualifying campaign by hosting South Africa on 6 November and traveling to face the same opposition on a date to be confirmed during the same international break.

Dakar-born Sakho, who is joined in the squad by fellow Hammer Cheikhou Kouyate, could feature for his country for the first time since playing in a 1-0 friendly international defeat in Algeria on 13 October 2015.

The 27-year-old, who has netted twice for West Ham in the Carabao Cup this season after recovering from a back problem, has been capped six times by Senegal previously.

Sakho made his debut in a 1-1 friendly draw Burkina Faso on 22 May 2014 before netting his maiden international goal four days later in a 3-1 win over Kosovo.

National team captain Kouyate, meanwhile, has been a mainstay of the Senegal squad since making his debut in 2012, featuring at the London Olympic Games and 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.

The midfielder has 38 caps and two goals to his name, including appearances in five of his country’s six 2018 World Cup qualifiers played so far.