Defender Kara Mbodj has not been included in Senegal’s Total AFCON squad released by Coach Aliou Cissé on Friday in Dakar.
The 29-year-old has not been picked since last summer’s World Cup in Russia despite only returning from a knee injury but failed to feature at the tournament.
“It’s not because he’s not calling me that I have to stay here and say anything about him. Many said he should not take me to the World Cup and he had done that I would understand him” said Mbodj.
The former Diambar trainee returned to Belgian club Anderlecht in January after an unsuccessful loan spell at French side Nantes.
Cisse’s decision to selected Mbodj in his 23-man squad for the World Cup was not received well back home and many raised doubts over his international future ahead of Friday’s unveiling of their squad.
“I did not have a rhythm (before the World Cup) but I was ready. If it was not the case I was not going to go – the coach took the risk to bring me but I was ready” Kara told TFM on Monday.
“There is no problem between Aliou Cisse and me. We’ve known each other since 2012 and he cares about me” added Mbodj.
The towering centre back has five goals in 47 appearances for Senegal including the winner against South Africa in November 2017 to seal qualification to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Coach Cisse will be guiding Senegal at the Total Africa Cup of Nations for the second time and he was willing state the reasons why Kara Mbodj was not included.
“Kara is an important part of this national team. But Kara’s struggles date back to a year ago after a serious knee injury,” Cisse told reporters at his squad unveiling in Dakar.
“I followed him until the last moment when I decided not to integrate him into the squad but I’m sure and he will come back much stronger”. .
Coach Cisse has maintained 16 players from his World Cup squad as they aim for their first continental title.
Horoya goalkeeper Khadim Ndiaye is out after sustaining a serious leg fracture in the CAF Champions league this year while striker Moussa Sow retired after the World Cup.
The other notable absentees include former West Ham forward Diafra Sakho, Mame Biram Diouf, Cheikh Ndoye and Adama Mbegue.
Former Newcastle attacking midfielder Henri Saivet has been recalled following his fine season with Bursaspor.
The 2002 runners up will be looking at Galatasaray forward Mbaye Diagne to replicate his club form when the tournament kicks off in Egypt.
The 27-year-old scored a combined total of 30 league goals in the 2018/19 season for Kasimpasa and Galatasaray.
Liverpool forward Sadio Mane is one of three premier league players in the team alongside Everton’s Idrissa Gana Gueye and Cheikhou Kouyate of Crystal Palace.
Goalkeepers: Abdoulaye Diallo (Rennes, France), Alfred Gomis (Spal, Italy), Edouard Mendy (Reims, France)
Defenders: Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli, Italy), Moussa Wague (FC Barcelona, Spain), Pape Abdou Cisse (Olympiacos, Greece), Salif Sane (Schalke,Germany), Youssouf Sabaly (Bordeaux,France), Lamine Gassama (Goztepe, Turkey), Saliou Ciss (Valenciennes, France), Cheikhou Kouyate (Crystal Palace, England)
Midfielders: Alfred Ndiaye (Malaga, Spain), Santy Ngom (Nancy, France), Idrissa Gana Gueye (Everton, England), Keprin Diatta (Club Brugge, Belgium), Pape Alioune Ndiaye (Galatasaray, Turkey), Sidy Sarr (Lorient, France), Henri Saivet (Bursaspor, Turkey)
Forwards: Ismaila Sarr (Rennes, France), Keita Balde (Inter Milan, Italy), Mbye Niang (Rennes, France), Moussa Konate (Amiens, France), Mbaye Diagne (Galatasaray, Turkey), Sada Thioub (Nimes, France), Sadio Mane (Liverpool, England)