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Balde Keita in Senegal squad for Niger qualifiers

Lazio forward Balde Diao Keita has been handed his maiden Senegal call-up as he decided to represent the country of his parents at international level.

Having been born in Spain, the 20-year-old also had the option to play for La Furia Roja, but he ultimately opted to represent the Teranga Lions.

Keita is now set to make his first appearance for Senegal as he was included in the 26-man squad for 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Niger.

The Teranga Lions play host to Niger on 26 March before the return leg takes place on 29 March in Niamey. Senegal lead Group K with six points after wins over Burundi and Namibia.

West Ham forward Diafra Sakho misses out having only recently recovered from injury, while Moussa Sow, Papiss Demba Cisse, Demba Ba and Dame N’Doye have been overlooked.

Moussa Konata is included, but he will not be available for selection after tearing his muscle while playing for FC Sion last weekend.

Senegal squad:

Goalkeepers: Abdoulaye Diallo (Havre AC), Khadim Ndiaye (Horoya AC), Pape Seydou Ndiaye (NGB);

Defenders: Lamine Gassama (Lorient), Zargo Touré (Lorient), Lamine Sané (Bordeaux), Kara Mbodj (Anderlecht), Kalilou Coulibaly (Napoli), Pape Ndiaye Souaré (Crystal Palace), Boucary Dramé (Atalanta Bergame);

Midfielders: Issa Sarr (Orlando Pirates), Idrissa Gana Guèye (Aston Villa), Cheikhou Kouyaté (West Ham), Cheikh Ndoye (Angers), Younnouss Sankaré (EN Guingamp), Mohamed Diamé ( Hull City);

Forwards: Sadio Mané (Southampton), Cherif Salif Sané (Casa Sports), Amara Baby (Charleroi Sporting), Diao Keita Baldé (Lazio de Rome), Henry Saivet (Newcastle), Pape Alioune Ndiaye (Osmanlispor), Moussa Konaté (FC Sion), Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City), Famara Diédhiou (Clermont Foot), Baye Oumar Niasse (Everton).

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