Senegal officials: Sadio Mane ruled out for 'first game' at World Cup

Senegal officials: Sadio Mane ruled out for ‘first game’ at World Cup

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Senegal forward Sadio Mane will miss his team’s “first game” at the World Cup with an ankle injury, a board member of the Senegalese soccer federation said Tuesday.

Abdoulaye Sou said Senegal had to cope without their best player to start the tournament and “don’t cry too much.”

“We have to rely on playing first without Sadio and winning without Sadio because we have 25 players without Sadio,” Sao said. “Nobody wanted this, but that’s what happened to us.”

Sao did not specify how many games Mann will miss, and there has been no official word from Senegal or Bayern Munich.

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Mane was injured a week ago in a German league match between Bayern and Werder Bremen. He came on in the 20th minute of Bayern’s 6–1 win. Byrne said the two-time African Player of the Year has an injury to the top of the fibula bone in his right leg.

Most of Senegal’s squad arrived in Qatar for the World Cup on Sunday. The team’s first match in Qatar is against the Netherlands on Monday, but Mane is still awaiting further tests by Bayern’s medical team.

Senegal, the reigning African champions, face the Netherlands four days later when they play hosts Qatar. Their last match in Group A is against Ecuador on November 29.

Mane was named in Senegal’s 26-man World Cup squad last week by coach Eliou Sisi, who said at the time that Senegal hoped Mane would still be fit for the start of the tournament. But Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann cast doubt on Mane’s participation on Friday when he said the player would be out for at least another 10 days even before further tests to 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 things are more important than sports. That’s the case with us and everyone else.

Senegal won their first major title at the Africa Cup of Nations in February, when Mane scored the winner in the shootout to beat Egypt in the final. Mane also scored the winning penalty in a play-off that sent Senegal into Qatar.

Senegal – along with Mane – are rated by many as the best African team going into the World Cup.

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