Newcastle set for battle with Senegal ready to call up both Ba and Cisse for Olympics
14:45 GMT, 24 April 2012
Senegal Football Association president Augustin Senghor has confirmed Newcastle duo Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse are in line to be chosen for his country's Olympic campaign.
Coach Alou Cisse claimed after Monday night's play-off win over Oman in Coventry he was still considering whether to draft in reinforcements to an already impressive Under 23 squad.
However, following the draw, which confirmed Senegal as Great Britain's first opponents, at Old Trafford on July 25, Senghor was more forceful in his assessment of the situation.
Draw: The groups for the Olympic football tournaments were decided on Tuesday
'If we can strengthen our young team with famous players from great championships like the Premier League, we should,' he said. 'We need top scorers like Papiss Cisse. If you leave players like that at home, it is a big mistake.'
Neither Cisse nor Ba have been contacted yet. However, Senghor is certain they would not turn down an invitation.
'If we call them, they will come,' he said. 'It is a privilege to participate in the Olympic Games. There are many great players who regret not playing in the Olympics.
'They are patriotic guys. They will come if we ask.
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'Also, it will be a very good thing for them to play against their colleagues in England. It will create a lot of focus around the game and the stadium will be full.'
And, though they are outsiders to qualify from a group that also contains Uruguay, Senegal are clearly not turning up just to fill a space.
'It is a dream to be in a group with a great team like Great Britain,' said Senghor. 'Also, because it is the first match it means all the focus will be on our team. That is fantastic for a country like ours.
'We are just beginners. We are coming to learn. But we want to be good schoolboys and learn quickly enough to get a place in the quarter-finals.'