Senegal pulled off a magnificent result in the World Cup yesterday, defeating Poland 2-1 thanks to a Thiago Cionek own goal and Mbaye Niang’s effort. It was a stunning result for the African side, against a team currently ranked eighth in the world.
For West Ham fans, there was something of a shock. The Lions of Teranga lined up with Liverpool star Sadio Mane captaining the side. The national team, usually captained by West Ham midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate, turned to Mane after the Hammer was dropped for the opening game.
Alfred N’Diaye, who finished last season on loan at Wolves, and Everton star Idrissa Gana Gueye instead started in midfield. Rumours circulated he may have picked up an injury, but it became clear the decision was tactical when Kouyate did eventually emerge from the bench.
Being dropped, as captain, from the first game of the World cup is the culmination of a poor season for the West Ham powerhouse.
Fans at the London Stadium became increasingly frustrated with his erratic displays for the club last season with many constantly asking for him to be dropped.
Kouyate enjoyed a brilliant first two seasons at West Ham following his arrival from Anderlecht in 2014 but for a while now Hammers’ fans have been frustrated with his sheer inconsistency. His poor 2017-18 form has now cost him his nation’s captaincy and West Ham fans can only hope it serves as a wake-up call ahead of the new campaign.