Reading FC trio selected to represent their nations in Qatar

Baba Rahman, Mamadou Loum, and Junior Hoilett. Credit: Reading FC

Baba Rahman (Ghana), Mamadou Loum (Senegal), and Junior Hoilett (Canada) have all been called up to their nations’ 26-man FIFA World Cup squads to compete in Qatar in the coming weeks.

The Royals trio will take on some of the world’s best in an unprecedented winter World Cup – a minimum of three group games lie in wait, and finishing in the top two would see their countries head into the knockout stages.

After competing at the U20 World Cup in 2015, Mamadou Loum earned his first senior caps for the Lions of Teranga in 2019.

But his most recent call-ups came earlier this year and saw him represent his country at the belated 2021 Africa Cup of Nations – and return home with a winner’s medal!

Competing in Group A, he could line up against the likes of Barcelona duo Frenkie de Jong and Memphis Depay as they face the Netherlands in their opening encounter, before meeting hosts Qatar and finishing up against Ecuador.

Qualifying from the group would result in a last-16 meeting with a nation from Group B – which includes England, Wales, USA and Iran.

Junior Hoilett will make his 50th appearance for the Canucks when he first takes to the field in Qatar – he has been a regular for his nation since his first cap in 2015, and has tournament experience in abundance from three CONCACAF Gold Cup campaigns.

His goal against Jamaica in March helped seal a group-topping qualification for his country as they qualified for Qatar.

It’ll be a big challenge to try to get out of Group F – a star-studded Belgium side, boasting the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne, comes first for Canada, before meeting 2018’s runners-up Croatia.

Morocco provide their final group-stage opponents – one of Spain, Germany, Japan or Costa Rica would be the next challenge if they get through their group.

Tamale-born Baba Rahman will reach 50 international caps if he plays all three group games for the Black Stars.

He also has tournament experience on the continental stage, as he helped Ghana to the Africa Cup of Nations final in 2015.

He scored in the shoot-out against Ivory Coast but would only take a runners-up medal.

His first fixture could pair him against Cristiano Ronaldo as they open their campaign against Portugal; South Korea, who have qualified for a tenth successive tournament, will be up next.

The final group game pits Ghana against Uruguay for only the second time in their history - the first being the infamous 2010 World Cup quarter-final.