Chelsea star Edouard Mendy ruled out of Senegal's AFCON 2022 opener against Zimbabwe with Covid after outbreak at club

CHELSEA star Edouard Mendy won't be part of Senegal's opener against Zimbabwe in the Africa Cup of Nations on Monday as he tested positive for Covid-19.

According to Sky Sports, Mendy became the ninth player to be ruled out for the Lions of Teranga as he joins Napoli star and the nation's captain Kalidou Koulibaly in the sidelines.

Famara Diedhiou, Alfred Gomis, Saliou Ciss, Bamba Dieng, Mame Baba Thiam, Pape Matar Sarr and Leicester’s Nampalys Mendy also returned positive tests.

The Blues ace and Gomis' diagnosis means Senegal will have to field Queens Park Rangers goalkeeper Seny Dieng, who is their third-choice goalkeeper, between the sticks.

The African nation's manager Aliou Cisse admitted that his team's coronavirus outbreak is a "difficult and complicated situation".

Cisse 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."

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Mendy has been in top form at Chelsea this season as he has amassed eight clean sheets in 20 Premier League matches.

The 29-year-old has proven to be highly reliable in goal as he overtook Kepa Arrizabalaga as the team's No1 ever since his arrival from Rennes in 2020.

Senegal boss Cisse is facing some major absences but can still rely on some key players, such as Liverpool superstar Sadio Mane, Paris Saint-Germain star Idrissa Gueye, Crystal Palace ace Cheikhou Kouyate and Watford's Ismaila Sarr.

The Lions of Teranga, though, are still considered among the favourites to win this year's Copa Africa.

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