Sadio Mane expected to miss 2022 World Cup matches

DAKAR, Senegal –

Senegal forward Sadio Mane will miss his team’s “first game” at the World Cup because of a leg injury, a board member of the Senegal football federation said on Tuesday.

Abdoulaye Sow said Senegal will have to deal with not having their best player at the start of the tournament and “don’t whine too much.”

“We will have to rely on playing the first games without Sadio and win without Sadio because we have 25 players except Sadio,” Sow said. “Nobody wanted it, but that’s what happened to us.”

Sow did not specify how many games Mane is expected to miss and there has been no official announcement from Senegal or Bayern Munich.

Mane was injured a week ago in the German league match between Bayern and Werder Bremen. He was substituted in the 20th minute of Bayern’s 6-1 win. Bayern said the two-time African best player suffered a head injury to the fibula in his right leg.

Most of the Senegal team arrived in Qatar for the World Cup on Sunday without Mane. The team’s first match in Qatar against the Netherlands takes place on Monday but Mane is still awaiting further examination by Bayern’s medical team.

Senegal, the reigning African champions, face hosts Qatar four days after taking on the Netherlands. Their last match in Group A was against Ecuador on November 29.

Mane was named to Senegal’s 26-man squad at the World Cup last week by coach Aliou Cisse, who said at the time that Senegal hoped Mane could still be ready to start the tournament. But Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann cast doubt on Friday of Mane’s involvement when he said the player would be sidelined for at least 10 more days even before further tests to confirm determine the exact extent of the injury.

“It’s clear that Senegal wants him to play,” Nagelsmann said. “But if he’s in pain, he can’t play. Medical problems are more important than sports problems. That’s the case with us and with others.”

Senegal won its first major title at the Africa Cup of Nations in February, when Mane scored the winning penalty in the penalty shootout to beat Egypt in the final. Mane also scored the winning goal in the play-off to help Senegal secure a spot in Qatar.

Senegal – with Mane – is considered by many to be the best African team ever to attend the World Cup.


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