In a huge blow to Senegal just days before the 2022 World Cup, Sadio Mane has been confirmed to be out of the national team’s squad due to injury. The two-time African Footballer of the Year soccer hero picked up a leg injury in Bayern Munich’s 6-1 league win over Werder Bremen earlier this week. Despite the injury, Senegal boss Aliou Cisse still included Mane in his 26-man squad for the tournament.
Earlier, Cisse was very optimistic about Mane’s condition, expecting him to miss Senegal’s opener and be deemed fit for the rest of the competition. However, following further tests, the team doctor confirmed that the injury would require surgery. In a video message, Senegal’s resident doctor Manuel Alfonso confirms that Mane will not play for the squad in the World Cup.
“Unfortunately, today’s [Thursday] MRI shows us that the improvement is not as favorable as we imagined and unfortunately, we have to withdraw Sadio from the World Cup,” Senegal is due to face hosts Qatar, the Netherlands and Ecuador in Group A. It is learnt that most of Senegal squad members have already landed to Qatar to start their preparation for the tournament.
Bayern later confirmed that Mane’s surgery was successful, and he will be staying in Munich to recover. “During the operation, a tendon was reattached to the head of his right fibula. The FC Bayern forward will therefore no longer be available to play for Senegal at the World Cup and will begin his rehab in Munich in the next few days,” Bayern said in a statement.
The 30-year-old Mane is Senegal’s record goal scorer and was crowned African Football of the Year after his impressive record with his former Premier League side and the national team. He is the hero of Senegal’s first-ever AFCON triumph after he converted the decisive penalty in that shootout victory over Egypt. The ex-Liverpool star is also regarded as one of the best attackers in world soccer.
This is the Teranga Lions’ third World Cup appearance, winning a two-legged playoff against Egypt to book their spot in the tournament. Cisse’s side previously beat holders France in 2002 to make it to the last 8. Without Mane, Cisse will highly rely on Edouard Mendy, Kalidou Koulibaly and Ismaila Sarr. Mane joins big names in football who will watch the World Cup from afar.
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