This summer, Kalidou Koulibaly made an important choice when he left Chelsea for Al Hilal in Saudi Arabia. It's a decision that has raised eyebrows in Senegal. Some are concerned about his competitiveness in the run-up to the 2023 African Cup of Nations in January.
The captain of the Lions of Teranga talks about this choice. He explains that he consulted with his coach, Aliou Cissé. "The coach is the boss of the national team. Even if I'm captain, my place isn't reserved. I told him there was a possibility I might go to Saudi Arabia. He told me that I was the captain and that whatever the choice, I had to continue to perform and that I had to get back to my physical level of years gone by. By playing less at Chelsea, I was finding it harder physically to play for the national team. This year, during the first training sessions, he saw that I was fit, and really better mentally too, since I'm playing soccer again and in packed stadiums," he confessed to Canal+.
Kalidou Koulibaly continued. "I asked him what he thought.He told me that as long as I was physically and mentally ready to serve the country, there would be no problem.He had no reservations, even though he had said in the past that he didn't want players who played in those leagues.He's changed his mind.As they say, only stupid people don't change their minds.To be successful in the national team, you have to be successful in Saudi Arabia. We've got closer with Edou (Mendy), Habib (Diallo) and Sadio (Mané), and that's going to strengthen our ties even more ahead of the AFCON."
#TDA 🌍 - "Tant que je serai physiquement et mentalement prêt à être au service du pays, il n'y aura aucun problème" 🗣
👉 Aliou Cissé, réticent à l'idée de voir ses cadres jouer en Arabie Saoudite ? Kalidou Koulibaly 🇸🇳 dément fermement ! pic.twitter.com/6E9YMMCTWV
— CANAL+ SPORT Afrique (@cplussportafr) October 9, 2023