Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly has tested positive for Covid-19 while on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon, his club Napoli said on Saturday.
Senegal will also be without goalkeeper Edouard Mendy for their opening game at the Africa Cup of Nations after he tested positive for coronavirus.
Chelsea keeper Mendy, centre-back Koulibaly and striker Famara Diedhiou have all gone into isolation.
Coach Aliou Cisse said: “It’s a difficult and complicated situation.”
Cisse looks set to have just 17 players available for the match in Bafoussam because of several Covid-19 cases and injuries.
But he added: “We are going to be competitive and those there are going to play for those who are absent. We are still going into the game against Zimbabwe full of confidence.”
The Teranga Lions are due to start their Group B campaign against Zimbabwe in Bafoussam on Monday.
“Kalidou Koulibaly has tested positive for Covid-19 while on international duty with Senegal. The defender, who is vaccinated and asymptomatic, is now in self-isolation as per protocol,” a Napoli statement said.
📌 Kalidou #Koulibaly has tested positive for COVID-19 while on international duty with Senegal. The defender, who is vaccinated and asymptomatic, is now in self-isolation as per protocol. pic.twitter.com/zpUbjq1SPc
— Official SSC Napoli (@en_sscnapoli) January 8, 2022
Senegal, Africa’s top-ranked team, delayed their departure for the tournament by a day earlier this week after three players and six staff members returned positive tests.
The squad left without the three players who were placed in quarantine. CAF has said teams will have to play their matches even if they only have 11 players available. An outfield player must go in goal if there is no recognised goalkeeper.
Any team that is unable to fulfil a fixture will forfeit the match 2-0. African football officials said in “exceptional cases” the tournament organisers “will take the appropriate decision”. -AFP