Senegal qualified for their first-ever FIFA World Cup in 2002 and instantly made an impact, beating holders France on their way to the round of 16.
They then failed to make it to the World Cup again until 2018 and are now in line for their third appearance at the showpiece after ousting Mohamed Salah’s Egypt in the qualifiers.
Can they repeat their heroics from 2002 and reach the knockout stages once more?
Senegal have been drawn in Group A alongside hosts Qatar, Ecuador and dark horses Netherlands.
Not a straightforward group by any means, but head coach Aliou Cisse will hope that the AFCON Champions will ride on experience and squad depth to make it a memorable campaign in the desert country.
Edouard Mendy is the number one choice between the sticks for Senegal.
He has a special place in the hearts of Senegal fans after his heroics in the AFCON final and the World Cup qualifier against Egypt.
Rennes’ Alfred Gomis, meanwhile, is a solid back-up choice and did well against Bolivia in September. Seny Dieng of QPR has also booked his tickets to get on the plane to Qatar after being used in Senegal’s final friendly before the World Cup against Iran.
|Seny Dieng||Queens Park Rangers|
Cisse sets his team up with a four-man backline and usually sticks to a set of trusted personnel.
Skipper Kalidou Koulibaly and Papa Abou Cisse are seemingly the two preferred centre-backs, but RB Leipzig’s Abdou Diallo is another potential starter alongside Koulibaly.
Formose Mendy of Amiens is a versatile option who can play as a centre-back and also in the right-back position. This provides competition to natural right-back Youssouf Sabaly of Real Betis and keeps him on his toes, particularly with Bayern Munich’s Bouna Sarr unavailable due to injury.
Whereas, Ismail Jakobs of Monaco and Fode Ballo-Toure of Milan are the regular left-back options.
|Papa Abou Cisse||Olympiacos|
|Abdou Diallo||RB Leipzig|
|Fode Ballo-Toure||AC Milan|
|Ismail Jakobs||AS Monaco|
|Youssouf Sabaly||Real Betis|
Cisse is flexible enough to try out various options in midfield. Sometimes it is a three-man bank, on some occasions it can be a traditional four, and at times even five bodies are deployed at the centre of the park.
Idrissa Gueye is generally tasked with the role of dictating the tempo of the match.
To add steel, Marseille’s Papa Gueye and Nottingham Forest’s Cheikhou Kouyate can act as a double pivot.
Tottenham’s Pape Matar Sarr is another potential option who adds composure and stability in midfield.
|Pape Matar Sarr||Tottenham Hotspur|
|Nampalys Mendy||Leicester City|
|Cheikhou Kouyate||Nottingham Forest|
|Pathe Ciss||Rayo Vallecano|
When you have Sadio Mane in your ranks, you cannot complain much about your forward line. The 30-year-old is the shining light of the Senegalese squad and is looked up to whenever the team find themselves in trouble or in need of a goal – but taking him is a risk.
Ismalia Sarr of Watford is an explosive option out wide who can tear up defences with his pace.
Meanwhile, Boulaye Dia of Salernitana is entrusted with the responsibility of being the target man upfront.
There are a few other options as well in Bamba Dieng and Nicolas Jackson who add depth to the squad.
|Sadio Mane||Bayern Munich|
|Iliman Ndiaye||Sheffield United|
Cisse is likely to set his side up in a 4-3-3 formation in Qatar.
Chelsea goalkeeper Mendy will start in goal, in front of a back four comprising of Sabaly, Koulibaly, Diallo, and Ballo-Toure.
In midfield, Idrissa Gueye, Pape Gueye, and Pape Matar Sarr should all start.
Mane – if fully fit – is likely to operate on the left flank, with Ismalia Sarr on the right and Dia as the centre forward.
Senegal XI (4-3-3): Mendy; Sabaly, Koulibaly, Diallo, Ballo-Toure; Idrissa Gueye, Pape Gueye, Matar Sarr; Mane, Dia, Ismalia Sarr