High-profile stars and all the world’s big players will be exhibiting an incredible talent at this year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Africa’s five World Cup representatives, are loaded with players with captivating backstories and improbable courses to the top. One of them is Iliman Ndiaye of Senegal.
Iliman Ndiaye has had a fine season with Sheffield United and could be the legend for Senegal in the midst of Sadio Mane’s match fintness worries at the World Cup.
For now, Senegal need a new hero after Sadio Mane’s injury nightmare that ruled the Bayern Munich superstar out of the World Cup.
Ndiaye could be that player following his radiant start to the season with Sheffield United, scoring nine goals in the English League Title as they push for a re-visitation to the top flight.
He made his Senegal debut in June 2022, but Mane’s injury, aligned with his club form, sees him in dispute to play a more conspicuous role in the African champions’ starting XI regardless of whether nobody’s genuinely anticipating that he should step straight into the Bayern striker’s sizeable shoes.
During his childhood in Senegal, having moved back to West Africa with his family after being born in France, Ndiaye became a viral sensation due to his courageous gutting of opponents in youth competitions.
As a little boy, he was featured in the Senegalese press — who dubbed him a “future Messi” — and was invited to Marseille for a trial.
He was on loan at Hyde United in the seventh tier of English football as recently as 2020, having earlier come to the attention of Sheffield United when he scored a wondergoal in a trial match at St George’s Park to trial VAR.
His chant, a dazzling new addition to the Blades’ repertoire, is sung to the tune of Manfred Mann’s ‘Do Wah Diddy’, and includes the lyrics:
“Running past defenders, scoring one and two. Iliman is on my mind and he wears the 29.”