Senegal forward Sadio Mane will miss the “first games” of the World Cup in Qatar due to injury, a Senegal soccer federation official was quoted as saying by local media on Tuesday.
The 30-year-old striker was named last week in Senegal’s 26-man squad for the World Cup, which starts on Sunday, despite picking up an injury to his right fibula playing for Bayern Munich in the run-up to the tournament.
Senegal coach Aliou Cisse said Mane, whose decisive penalties secured the Africa Cup of Nations title and World Cup qualification for his country this year, did not require surgery but hopes of him lining up against the Netherlands on November 21 appear slim.
“We will have to rely on playing the first games without Sadio and win without Sadio because we have 25 players apart from Sadio,” official Abdoulaye Sow said.
“No one would have wanted it, but that’s what’s happened to us.”
Mane is still expected to feature at some point in the tournament, though it appears it will be a tight race to be fit before the end of the group stage.
Senegal will face the Netherlands, Qatar and Ecuador in Group A.
Mane is Senegal’s undisputed biggest star, and his absence for any amount of time will be a tremendous blow to the team.
The ex-Liverpool attacker led his country to an Africa Cup of Nations triumph at the start of 2022 and had been eager to carry the Lions of Teranga to the World Cup knockout stages.-Reuters