AFCON 2023 - Senegal: Mory Diaw vs Edouard Mendy is there really a match?

Mory Diaw vs Edouard Mendy
AFCON 2023 - Senegal: Mory Diaw vs Edouard Mendy is there really a match?

FIFA Best Goalkeeper 2021, Edouard Mendy has been experiencing a real setback over the last year and a half. Transferred this summer to Al Ahli in Saudi Arabia, the former Chelsea goalkeeper now has to contend with the rise of Mory Diaw in the Senegal national team. Can the Clermont goalkeeper push Aliou Cissé to install competition in the Lions' goal? In Senegal, the debate is slowly but surely taking hold.

Mory Diaw vs Edouard Mendy
Mory Diaw scores points in competition with Mendy and Seny Dieng

We tend to hear that things move too fast in the world of soccer. A sovereign king can soon see his throne challenged by his former admirers. In a way, this is what Édouard Mendy is experiencing with the Senegal team. The former Stade de Reims and Rennes goalkeeper's sovereignty in the Lions' goal is increasingly contested. His disastrous performances for Chelsea and Al Ahli in Saudi Arabia have led to mistrust among many of the African champions' fans and followers, in favor of Mory Diaw, whose performances are more highly-regarded and commented on. But also Seny Dieng, who brilliantly deputised for him in the first two group matches at the last AFCON.

A dynamic to Mory Diaw's advantage

Since last season, Mory Diaw has been enjoying a late explosion in the French league. His performances have greatly contributed to Clermont Foot's fine and surprising 8th place in the final standings."He didn't start to shine this year. He's been playing very well for some time now," says Oumar Diallo. He seems even more motivated now that he's been called up to the national team. Against PSG, he showed all his class, displaying all his qualities as a goalkeeper both in his saves and his footwork. I really thought he was too good in that match," the former Senegal goalkeeper told SNA.

Despite his club's 17th and penultimate place this season, Mory Diaw is doing better than just surviving the Auvergne outfit's slump. This year, Mory is entering a season of confirmation, because last season he had already given us a glimpse of his potential," confides sports journalist Babacar Ndaw Faye. This year, I think he's even been slow to find his rhythm, but that's probably also due to his team's poor overall form, which has made him more exposed. Until the feat against Paris, it was only against Metz that he was able to keep his goal intact.

Last weekend, his XXL performance against PSG, punctuated by a record 10 saves, was commented on by the media in France and Senegal. But the context was particularly propitious for such a performance."He may have needed this breakthrough to really kick-start his season, but it has to be more than just a flash in the pan.The context, against Paris, which is also his old club, naturally lends itself to him outdoing himself. It will now be interesting to see whether he can capitalize on this match to build his confidence for the future, so that people don't say he was over-revving for this particular match," says Babacar Ndaw Faye.

Édouard Mendy's long, lonely march

An indisputable starter for the Senegalese national team since 2019, Édouard Mendy has had a complicated start to life in the Saudi Pro League. With his new club Al Ahli, the 31-year-old goalkeeper has managed just 3 clean sheets after 8 games and has already conceded 13 goals. The runner-up for the Yachin Trophy in 2021 has lost confidence, no longer being decisive and multiplying his blunders. Mendy's poor form is starting to last and is becoming very worrying," warns Babacar Faye. Since his bad spell at Chelsea, then his injury, he's been struggling to get back to being the goalkeeper we once knew, who was even on the top of the world at one point in his career. I don't think he's lost his qualities overnight. But it's such a special position, requiring a very high level of confidence to perform," he noted.

For the former reporter of the Senegalese daily L'Observateur, Mendy can regain the confidence he so desperately needs. "When he was at the top of his game, he would sometimes reach a level of performance above his real level because there was so much confidence. Now, it's the same in the opposite direction: he's under-performing below his real level because the confidence is no longer there. And what's worse, Al Ahli's defense doesn't help either. I find it rather weak. Last Saturday they got a clean sheet, which was good enough. But now he has to follow that up against Ittihad, one of the league's best attacks, and then against Cameroon... Not easy. But if he puts in two quality performances against these two teams, maybe that will help him recover," he hopes.

Mendy "untouchable" for the national team

There is also a huge gap in footwork between Mendy and Diaw, in favor of the Clermont-Ferrand native."In today's soccer, with all the pressure from the opposition, you really need a goalkeeper with good footwork and the ability to get back into the game. Mory has that in addition to his aerial ability," says Oumar Diallo. But he remains measured. The true potential of a goalkeeper lies in consistency and continuity. We'll have to see how he performs in future club matches, because it's easier to be motivated against PSG. We'll see Mory's true worth over time, even if we have no doubts. He's got his whole future ahead of him at 30, the age of maturity for goalkeepers".

This technical advantage, but also the level of confidence at club level, may not be enough for Cissé to call the goalkeeping hierarchy into question. To be honest, I don't think the current situation will prompt Aliou Cissé to change his plans with less than 100 days to go before the tournament," says Babacar Ndaw Faye. Knowing Aliou, I really don't think he's thinking of leaving out one of the pillars of his team over the last 5 years. Aliou Cissé likes to have certainties, and Mendy, along with Koulibaly, Gana and Sadio, is one of the indestructible members of his squad. It would take a catastrophe for him to consider benching him for this AFCON, which is only 3 months away. So we might as well pray that Mendy regains his confidence and gets back to his best," he added.

Silva's understudy at the 2002 World Cup agrees.

"I'd rather have 5 good goalkeepers in the squad and have a problem choosing between them than have just one who could get injured.At the 2019 AFCON, Edouard was injured in the warm-up (against Kenya). Alfred Gomis continued the rest of the tournament right through to the final. Today, if we have a keeper like Mory with this quality, it's all to the good. We mustn't be too hasty in trying to create competition when the competition hasn't even started yet. But we should be delighted to have such a goalkeeper in case Edouard Mendy doesn't perform well. Senegal are defending their title, and at the competition you need at least three good goalkeepers," he concluded.

Seny Dieng, "the referee" of the match

Between the two, there's Seny Dieng.On the international scene, the Middlesbrough goalkeeper has a lot more experience than Mory Diaw. His CV includes two matches at the 2021 African Cup.Indeed, it was he who started the victorious adventure in Cameroon.With flying colors.The native of Switzerland was decisive in Senegal's first two games, scoring two clean-sheets against Zimbabwe (1-0) and Guinea. As a Championship player, his matches are less watched than those of his rivals. This obviously works against him in the popular debate. But perhaps not in the eyes of Aliou Cissé. On Friday at 10am GMT, the coach announced the names of the three goalkeepers for the friendly between Senegal and Cameroon (October 16, 2023 in France). As in September, all three goalkeepers will be present. And there's no doubt that Cissé's choice of goalkeeper against the Indomitable Lions as been closely scrutinized, and will give an indication of the trend three months before the start of the 2023 AFCON.

SNA tells you more!

No recommendation
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram