May 25, 2018 / 10:02 AM / 5 months ago

Injured defender confident of playing at World Cup

DAKAR (Reuters) - Defender Kara Mbodji is confident he will be fit in time to play at the World Cup after his surprise selection to the Senegal squad.

Soccer Football - Champions League - Anderlecht Training - Neerpede, Belgium - October 17, 2017 Anderlecht's Kara Mbodji during training REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

Mbodji has not played since December after suffering a knee injury while playing for Belgian club Anderlecht but his importance to Senegal’s hopes at the tournament in Russia was underlined by his inclusion in last week’s 23-man squad.

“I want to thank the Senegalese people, my family and my club for getting me back into very good condition to be able to play,” the Anderlecht defender told reporters at Senegal’s training camp at Saly-Portudal.

“Five days ago, I played 90 minutes and everything went very well. I will continue to work hard and the Senegalese will see with their own eyes that I am fit and able to play.”

Mbodji said five months on the sidelines had been filled with “difficult moments” but that he had “worked hard to be able to come back”.

He could face a first test when Senegal play a warm-up friendly against Luxembourg on May 31.

Senegal compete in Group H at the World Cup, starting against Poland on June 19 in Moscow and then playing Japan and Colombia.

Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Johannesburg; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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