El Hadji Diouf calls for Sadio Mane to step up for Senegal national team
Posted: 24 November 2016 Time: 17:25
Former Senegal World Cup hero El Hadji Diouf has told the country’s newly named Footballer of the Year Sadio Mane to man up and take centre stage in the national team in the wake of the 2-1 loss to South Africa in World Cup qualification earlier this month.
Diouf, who led the attack when Senegal got to the last eight of the 2002 World cup, says Mane has not asserted himself enough on the Senegal side.
“This team has a lot of pressure on it because some of my compatriots have set the bar very high for them,” Diouf, now 35, said in a French radio interview on Thursday.
“There is a lot of talent in this squad, but for me, the players are having trouble finding each other. If we watch the team play in Dakar, or elsewhere, we clearly feel that they don’t play the football we want to see.
“It is not a team that takes responsibility. And football, above all, is a question of responsibility. We, our generation, had a lot of character, as much as any other team.
“A player like Sadio Mane, who I like to watch play, I want to ask him to play, to take responsibility and not to look at what is around him but to tell himself that Senegal has a new boss and ‘it’s me, I play in a big club and I have to please my people’,” added Diouf, whose career took in stints in France and then in England with Liverpool, Bolton Wanderers, Sunderland, Blackburn Rovers, Doncaster Rovers and Leeds United.
He last played for Sabah in Malaysia, but is now back in Senegal seeking to enter into politics.