Senegal coach Cisse keeps Demba Ba's faint World Cup hopes alive

By Oluwashina OkelejiBBC Sport
Demba Ba
Demba Ba last played for Senegal in 2015

Senegal coach Aliou Cisse has not ruled out bringing striker Demba Ba back into his final plans for the 2018 World Cup.

Ba, 32, has not played for his country since March 2015 and was overlooked for last month's friendly internationals against Uzbekistan and Bosnia.

He is currently enjoying a rich vein of form with his Turkish side Goztepe, having scored five goals in nine matches.

And Cisse insists the door is still open for the former Chelsea striker.

"I have said it before and I will repeat it again, the national team door is not closed on Demba Ba and others," Cisse told RTS in Senegal.

"We have a group already in place that has been together for three years, and overall I am satisfied with these players.

"But the performance of others outside this group offers some possible options and you cannot ignore them," Cisse added.

Injuries have prevented Ba from being a regular for the Teranga Lions and he did not feature as they sealed qualification for a second appearance at the World Cup.

Despite his last appearance for Senegal coming under Cisse, against Ghana in a friendly on 28 March 2015, Ba would be under no illusions about the task facing him in his quest for a recall.

The likes of Mame Biram Diouf, Moussa Sow, Diafra Sakho, Mbaye Niang and Ismaila Sarr are still ahead of him in Cisse's thinking.

At their first and only World Cup appearance in 2002, Senegal - led by then captain and now coach Cisse - reached the quarter-finals and beat a star-studded French side in the group stages.

This time around, Senegal will have to get past Poland, Colombia and Japan in Group H of the tournament in Russia.

The Teranga Lions will begin their World Cup Group H campaign against Poland on 19 June in Moscow before they play Japan on 24 June and then Colombia four days later.

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