Newcastle United will either lose Cheick Tiote to the African Cup of Nations in South Africa in January, or our two strikers Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba, as the second leg of the play-off takes place on Saturday in the Senegal capital of Dakur.
Cheick Tiote – in Ivory Coast colors
The Ivory Coast lead 4-2 from the first leg, after they scored three late goals, after Senegal had threatened to take a surprise win out of Abidjan.
The Ivory Coast – beaten finalists last year to Zambia, after an amazing penalty shoot-out after extra time – must be the favorites going into the second leg, but Senegal are at home and they have some excellent strikers who can score goals out of nothing – like the two Newcastle strikers for example.
This is what Alan Pardew said about Saturday’s game:
“Senegal v Ivory Coast is a massive game for this football club.” “If Senegal win, we will lose both of them, so in the next window we would have to do something about it.”
“I will either lose one world class player or two world class players, so I’d rather Cheick bangs a couple in – then I’ll lose just the one player.” “If it’s the other way round, I have no problem with that – I’ll have Cheick Tiote on board.”
“It’s an interesting fixture, and I think it’ll be hard [for visitors Ivory Coast] to hold on to a two-goal lead but we’ll see.” “Senegal love Newcastle and if they heard the Newcastle manager is rooting for another country they wouldn’t be happy, so I am completely neutral!”
And of course that’s a big change from what Alan said before the first leg last month, when the Newcastle manager was rooting heavily for the Ivory Coast.
That’s so we would lose only one player – Cheick Tiote – rather than our two top strikers to the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in January – we’d be in big trouble with only Shola Ameobi as a recognized and experienced striker during the AFCON.
You live and learn – as they say.
We’ll be watching that game on Saturday – certainly the first leg was an exciting game.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org