Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly believes the time has arrived for an African nation to win the World Cup trophy.
The 31-year-old is expected to lead the Lions of Teranga at the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar from November to December. Senegal have been drawn in Group A alongside Netherlands, Qatar and Ecaudor.
During the last edition held in Russia in 2018, Senegal failed to make it past the group stage after losing to Colombia 1-0, drawing 2-2 against Japan and beating Poland 2-1. They became the first team in World Cup history to be eliminated using the fair play rule after being tied with Japan on the first six tiebreakers.
“We still remember the 2018 World Cup because we could have done better, we failed to qualify from the group stage and I was very sad about going home that early,” Koulibaly, who moved to Premier League outfit Chelsea from Napoli this summer, told BBC Sport Africa TV.
“It is going to be even more difficult for us now we are the African champions because all the teams will be careful [when playing against us] and for me I think it is time an African country delivers and wins the World Cup because we are a very determined continent.
Koulibaly further revealed if African teams set up their goals heading to the Gulf nation, they will be able to get positive results. Apart from Senegal, Africa’s representatives are Ghana, Cameroon, Tunisia, and Morocco.
“We should set our goals for ourselves, like in the Afcon in Cameroon when we qualified to the Round of 16, all the guys in the dressing room were like, oh great, and I was like guys we are not happy, our competition is just starting here, now if we lose one game we go back home, so we must always have our goals.
“People in the streets of Senegal will tell us laughing, I hope you guys will win the World Cup, I do laugh back with them but in my head I really hope we will do it.”
Senegal, who qualified for Qatar after defeating Egypt in the playoffs, will face Netherlands in their opener at Al Thumama Stadium on November 21. They will then tackle Qatar on November 25 before they conclude their group fixtures against Ecuador at Khalifa International Stadium on November 29.