Udinese’s Silvan Widmer (C) and Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly (R) in action during the Italian Serie A soccer match between Udinese Calcio and SSC Napoli at Friuli stadium in Udine, Italy, 26 November 2017. EPA/ALBERTO LANCIA

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Tuesday Feb 13, 2018. 13:06


As the UEFA Europa League and Champions League takes the centre stage this week, two of Africa’s finest players are set to lock horns on Thursday.

In the Europa League, Italian Serie A giants Napoli will host German Bundesliga outfit RB Leipzig on Thursday.

Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly will hope to be in the starting XI and ensure he denies the visitors a win as they will likely feature Guinea midfielder Naby Keita.

The Lions of Teranga defender has done exceptionally well for the Italian side if their league run is anything to go by as they currently sit at the top of the table.

Napoli approach this one in fine form after having won their last five games in Serie A including a 4-1 triumph against fellow UEFA Europa League candidates Lazio on Saturday.

On the other hand, Leipzig have won the last two without conceding a goal in the Bundesliga.

With Kalidou’s ambition firmly set on lifting the Serie A trophy, the appearance in the European inter-club competition presents an opportunity to lift a double.

Moreover, the centre back will want to head to highly anticipated 2018 FIFA World Cup in June tournament having won a trophy or two at club level to boost his confidence.

The first leg encounter of the Last 32 is slated for 22:05 (CAT) at the Stadio San Paolo in Naples on Thursday night.


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