Senegalese striker Sadio Mane is out of the World Cup due to a leg injury sustained while playing for Bayern Munich.
The 30-year-old injured his right fibula in Bayern’s 6-1 Bundesliga win over Werder Bremen last Tuesday.
Despite the injury, Mane was included in Senegal’s 26-man squad for the World Cup, but the former Liverpool striker will not be in Qatar after failing to recover from injury.
On Tuesday, Senegal’s soccer federation said Mane would miss his “first matches” of the tournament, but head coach Aliou Cissé will now have to plan without his star man.
The reigning African Cup of Nations champions begin their World Cup campaign against the Netherlands on Monday.
That is followed by Group A games against hosts Qatar on November 25 and Ecuador on November 29.
Mane was crucial in Senegal’s first AFCON victory in February, scoring the winning penalty kick as the Teranga Lions defeated Egypt on penalties in the final.
Then, in late March, Mane also scored the decisive penalty as Senegal once again beat Egypt on penalties in a shootout to qualify for Qatar.
Who is Senegal’s key man now in Qatar?
The loss of Mane is a terrible blow to Senegal’s hopes in Qatar and will place a huge onus on others to step up in his absence.
There are leaders elsewhere on the pitch, but the challenge now is to score the goals without him. ismaila sarr can help with that.
For much of Sarr’s career, he has been following in Mane’s footsteps. A graduate of the Generation Foot academy, like Mane, his first European club was Metz. He also impressed in the Premier League, scoring against Mane’s Liverpool for Watford.
But the 24-year-old striker now finds himself in the Championship with the Hornets. He has shown that he can deliver in big moments, scoring for Senegal in the quarterfinals of their African Cup of Nations triumph last year. Could he be the hero with the injured Mane?