Nations Cup 2015: Ghana opponents Senegal drop in-form striker Demba Ba from crack Senegal squad

Ghana’s opponents Senegal have left out in-form striker Demba Ba from his preliminary 28-man squad for January’s Africa Cup of Nations finals in Equatorial Guinea.

The Black Stars will be wary of the Teranga Lions squad dominated by players who ply their trade in Europe with top-flight sides which points to a strong squad.

Ba’s former teammate, Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse, is the side’s star player with 16 goals from 31 international starts.

Frenchman Alain Giresse, at the helm of the Lions since January 2013, named just one home-based player, the Diambars ‘keeper Ousmane Mane.

Demba Ba, formerly of Chelsea and Newcastle, has scored 16 goals in 19 appearances for Turkish side Besiktas this season.

Ba was omitted from the Teranga Lions squad for their final qualifiers against Egypt and Botswana in November, with Giresse insisting the striker was injured.

A disappointed Ba quickly sought to clarify the situation in the media by insisting that he was fully fit to play.

“The coach called and said that I needed to rest and take care of my ankle. It feels strange to me as I am completely fit and able to play football,” Ba told Stades after his omission.

“If Alain Giresse wanted to include me, he would have done so as he knows that my ankle is completely fine.”

It appears the experienced striker has paid the price for his public outburst and his place in the squad has been taken by Diafra Sakho, who plays for English Premier League side West Ham United.

Giresse, who has been in charge since January 2013, named Diambars goalkeeper Ousmane Mane as the only locally-based player and included brothers Lamine and Salif Sane in the squad.

The 2002 Nations Cup runners-up will look to striker Papiss Cisse for goals. Cisse is enjoying a good season with Newcastle United with seven Premier League goals to his name so far.

Senegal are in Group C at the Nations Cup where they will face favourites Algeria, Ghana and South Africa at the 17 January to 8 February tournament.

The players will begin their training camp in Dakar on 2 January and then move to El Jadida in Morocco on 7 January, the same day Giresse is expected to finalise his 23-man squad.

Senegal’s provisional squad:

Goalkeepers: Bouna Coundoul (Ethnikos Achnas FC, Cyprus), Lys Gomis (Trappani, Italy), Pape Demba Camara (Sochaux, France), Ousmane Mane (Diambars)

Defenders: Zargo Toure (Le Havre, France), Lamine Gassama (Lorient, France), Lamine Sane (Bordeaux, France), Kara Mbodj (Genk, Belgium), Pape Ndiaye Souare (Lille, France), Papy Djilobodji (Nantes, France), Boukary Drame (Atalanta, Italy), Ibrahima Mbaye (Inter Milan, Italy), Cheikh Mbengue (Rennes, France)

Midfielders: Cheikhou Kouyate (West Ham, England), Pape Kouli Diop (Levante, Spain), Idrissa Gana Gueye (Lille, France), Stephane Badji (Brann, Norway), Salif Sane (Hanover, Germany), Pape Alioune Ndiaye (Bodo Glimt, Norway), Alfred Ndiaye (Real Betis, Spain).

Strikers: Moussa Konate (SC Sion, Switzerland), Diafra Sakho (West Ham, England), Mame Birame Diouf (Stoke City, England), Sadio Mane (Southampton, England), Moussa Sow (Fenerbahce, Turkey), Papiss Demba Cisse (Newcastle, England), Henri Saivet (Bordeaux, France), Dame Ndoye (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia).