Cote d’Ivoire-Senegal: The RSL stars who could impact AFCON last-16 blockbuster

One of the blockbuster fixtures of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations takes place on Monday night, when hosts Cote d’Ivoire take on defending champions Senegal in Yamoussoukro.

It just so happens, that with seven representatives possibly involved, the Roshn Saudi League could play a pivotal role in deciding the highly anticipated last-16 encounter.

The home side are captained by the ever reliable Al Ahli midfielder Franck Kessie, who should line up in midfield alongside his compatriot, and Al Nassr star Seko Fofana.

The pair will know well the task that faces them at the Charles Konan Banny Stadium, with Al Ahli goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and Al Nassr forward Sadio Mane most likely on the opposite side. Fofana, of course, is a teammate of Mane’s for the Riyadh club, who currently sit second in the 2023-24 RSL.

Both Mane and Fofana have one goal so far at the continent’s showpiece tournament. In fact, the latter notched the 2023 competition’s opening goal, scoring in the 2-0 victory against Guinea-Bissau on January 13.

Meanwhile, Al Fayha full-back Ghislain Konan could feature for Cote d’Ivoire, while Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly will no doubt be looking to carry his form with RSL leaders Al Hilal into the match against a number of familiar rivals this campaign.

And, at the other end of pitch, Senegal striker Habib Diallo has already shown what he can offer. The Al Shabab frontman got off the mark in the tournament with a goal in the 3-1 win against Cameroon, helping Senegal advance from Group C as winners – and a 100 percent record.

The RSL players looking to make an impact in Monday’s mouth-watering knockout tie.

Cote d'Ivoire: Ghislain Konan (Al Fayha - Defender), Seko Fofana (Al Nassr – Midfielder), Franck Kessie (Al Ahli – Midfielder).

Senegal: Edouard Mendy (Al Ahli – Goalkeeper), Kalidou Koulibaly (Al Hilal – Defender), Sadio Mane (Al Nassr – Forward), Habib Diallo (Al Shabab – Forward).