Senegal Boss Breaks Silence On Mane's World Cup Exit

Sadio Mane and Aliou Cisse
Sadio Mane and Aliou Cisse

Following Sadio Mane's 2022 FIFA World Cup-ending injury, Senegal head coach Aliou Cisse has broken his silence regarding the talisman's absence from the Lions of Teranga squad for the tournament.

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This is only the fourth time in history the reigning African champions will represent the continent at the World Cup, and as Senegal prepare to take on the Netherlands in their opening match, they perhaps go into the encounter as underdogs despite being Africa Cup of Nations champions.

Initially selected for the squad, their star player Mane has been ruled out of the showpiece altogether after the 2022 CAF African Player of the Year had to undergo surgery on his right fibula.

Despite the withdrawal of the Bayern Munich star, however, Cisse believes his men have what it takes to compete with three-time World Cup finalists the Netherlands on Monday evening.

"We're not just talking about the Senegalese people here, I think people all over the world," Cisse said of Mane's absence in his pre-match press conference, as per Goal.

"The whole football family is saddened by what has happened because he was the second-best player in the world and he represents the African continent as well as representing Senegal.

"It's true that 20 years ago, 35 years ago, African football was very different. Today, we have players who play in the best leagues in the world, in the best leagues in Europe.

"Players who play together with the players from the Netherlands or from Brazil, and if they play with them, it's because they are as good as them.

"What's important is that we go about these matches without any fear and try and play as we possibly can."

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The tournament in Qatar marks yet another edition of the competition where the fitness of the reigning African Player of the Year is questionable. In 2018, Mohamed Salah went to Russia in a race against time following an injury to help Egypt attempt qualify from a tough group, and now the Pharaoh's former teammate Mane will be missing out altogether four years later.

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