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HomeSportDoctor Khumalo column: Senegal are more than just the ‘Sadio Mane’ team

Doctor Khumalo column: Senegal are more than just the ‘Sadio Mane’ team

Doctor Khumalo column: Senegal are more than just the ‘Sadio Mane’ team

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Johannesburg – This is one of the tournament’s biggest first round games, with Africa’s great Fifa World Cup hope going up against global football giants still searching for their elusive first world champion crown.

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Die Oranje are the grand masters of football, the country that gave us ‘Total Football’ and who have been leaders in the huge advancements in the way the game is played.

But for all their legendary players like Johan Cruyff, Ruud Gullit, Marco van Basten and Frank Rijkaard, somehow the Netherlands are still without a FIFA World Cup title to their name – losing out in the final three times.

Again, the Dutch arrive in Qatar with plenty of quality in the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Frenkie de Jong and Steven Bergwijn. This Dutch side doesn’t have as many ‘stars’ as has previously been the case, but that may count in their advantage, with the likes of Arnaut Danjuma a huge attacking talent in LaLiga and the exciting young talent Xavi Simons a future world star in the making in their side.

Senegal were rocked by the injury sustained by their star man Sadio Mane in the Bundesliga just weeks before the tournament, but even with their talisman out they still have plenty of exciting talent in their ranks.

Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is a massive player at Chelsea, where he has been joined by Kalidou Koulibaly who is one of the world’s best defenders.

Doctor Khumalo column: Senegal are more than just the ‘Sadio Mane’ team

In midfield they have the likes of the experienced Cheikhou Kouyate and Idrissa Gueye, while upfront they still have the likes of Ismaila Sarr and Boulaye Dia.

This is a talented, quality Senegal squad, even without Mane, but they will have to take the game to the composed, polished Dutch side and knock them off the stride.

The Dutch will be at the tournament’s business end in the knockout stages no doubt, but Senegal will give them a big test in this one.

Doctor Khumalo’s prediction: A 1-1 draw

* CATCH THE MATCH LIVE ON SABC SPORT AT 18h00

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