Senegal’s star attacker Sadio Mane will miss his team’s African Cup of Nations opener against Tanzania as the Liverpool star will be serving a one-match suspension, Coach Aliou Cisse has confirmed.
This gives a respite for Tanzania’s Coach Emmanuel Amuneke. “Sadio is an important player in the Senegal team, it’s interesting to have him with us,” Senegal Coach Aliou Cisse told dzfoot.com.
Egypt is hosting this year’s Nations Cup, which has been expanded to 24 teams and will take place from 21 June to 19 July.
Senegal are playing in Group C alongside Algeria, Kenya and Tanzania.
Senegal will be facing Tanzania in their opening match on 23 June, but the 27-year-old UEFA Champions League winner Mane won’t be available since he got two yellow cards in the qualifiers against Madagascar and Equatorial Guinea.
“Now I have chosen 23 players who are ready to make up for any absence. The group is quite well-armed. Certainly, with Sadio we would be very good, but even without him we will be very good,” explained the coach of the Lions of Teranga.
“We all know that Sadio will make a good CAN, the players around him have to raise the level. That’s how we’ll get there,” he added.
Premier League and Liverpool top scorer Mane, who scored 26 goals in all competitions (22 in the Premier League and four in the Champions League), was called up for Senegal’s 25-man preliminary list hours ahead of winning the champions league final against Tottenham on 1 June.
“If we received a card in the elimination round, I do not see the value of counting it during the final phase of the CAN. CAF has decided that, but we will prove that Senegal exists without Mane,” the coach concluded.