In news that might bring some measure of relief to Persebaya Surabaya’s plans for the second half of the 2021/22 Liga 1 Indonesia season, the Bajul Ijo‘s Sierra Leone defender Alie Sesay was not included in his national team’s final squad for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations.
27-year old Sesay was included in Sierra Leone’s 40-man provisional squad for the AFCON, however, head coach John Keister has decided against including the Leicester City graduate in his final 28-man squad for the tournament.
Sesay’s omission from Sierra Leone’s AFCON squad may come as a blessing for Persebaya, with the Bajul Ijo being involved in the Liga 1 title race this season. With Sesay as an immovable object in their defense, Persebaya are currently 4th in the Liga 1 table, seven points off leaders Bhayangkara FC with an extra game in hand.
Included in Sierra Leone’s AFCON squad, however, is Steven Caulker, who had once represented the England national team. Former Liverpool defender Caulker, now plying his trade in Turkey with Gaziantep FK, was cleared to play for Sierra Leone by FIFA in December, being eligible to represent the nation thanks to his paternal grandfather. It is hoped that Caulker’s experience will bring a sense of calmness to the Sierra Leone defense as they navigate their way through a tough Group E alongside Algeria, the Ivory Coast, and Equatorial Guinea.
Also included in Keister’s final AFCON squad are MLS journeyman Kei Kamara, Randers FC striker Alhaji Kamara, and Queens Park Rangers defender Osman Kakay.