Sadio Mane

Sadio Mane has been ruled out of the World Cup after being unable to recover from injury in time – in a cruel blow to Senegal.

Mane suffered a knee injury in Bayern Munich’s 6-1 win over Werder Bremen earlier this month, which put into doubt his hopes of competing at the tournament.

The German champions said at the time that the forward had an injury ‘to the head of his right fibula’.

He was included in Senegal’s squad for the tournament in Qatar despite his tournament participation being put in doubt.

Senegal coach Aliou Cisse had been optimistic when discussing Mane’s injury earlier this month, but the Bayern forward has now been ruled out of the showpiece event, after the news was confirmed by the Senegalese Football Federation.

In a short statement, they said: ‘The FSF wishes a speedy recovery to its player Sadio Mane, package for the World Cup.’

The forward now requires surgery on the knee injury that he suffered earlier this month.

On Tuesday, his nation’s federation had said that the Bayern star was ruled out of the ‘first games’ at the showpiece event.

However, a further MRI scan that was completed on Thursday outlined that surgery would be needed.

Cisse’s optimism that his star man would be fit was evident earlier this month when he said: ‘We are monitoring the situation and we sent a doctor from the federation.

‘On Thursday, Sadio spent the whole day in Munich before travelling to Austria for further tests. The good news is that he does not need an operation.

‘It is important to continue to monitor his injury and hope that in two or three weeks there is a change. We will give everything to have Sadio back.’

Senegal, who won the African Cup of Nations earlier this year, with Mane a key part of their triumph, revealed that they would even use witch witch doctors to cure his injury in a bid to get him to the World Cup in Qatar.

Fatma Samoura, the Secretary General of FIFA and a former Senegalese diplomat and senior executive, said last week the country will go to extreme methods to ensure he is present in Qatar, admitting they are not even sure if the unorthodox technique will work but that they are hoping for ‘miracles’.

‘We are going to use witch doctors,’ she told Europe 1. ‘I don’t know (if they’re effective) but in this instance, we’re going to use them anyway. We are hoping for miracles. He has to be there!’

Mane, who has 34 goals in 93 caps for his country and is a the two-time African player of the year, was pivotal to the African champions’ hopes of progressing to the knockout stages and his injury is a heartbreaking blow to himself and his nation.

The former Liverpool star was instrumental for the team on their way to winning this year’s Africa Cup of Nations as they beat Egypt on penalties in the final, having scored four goals during the tournament.

He also netted the decisive penalty to help his country become continental champions for the first time.

To highlight his legendary status further, he did the same in the World Cup play-offs, netting the decisive penalty again against Egypt in April – to secure the Teranga Lions’ qualification for Qatar.

Mane – who joined Bayern from Liverpool for £35million in the summer – has been excelling for his club during his first season in Germany.

He’s scored 11 goals in 23 appearances in all competitions, as well as recording four assists.

However, just 15 minutes into their encounter with Werder Bremen the 30-year-old went doing holding his right leg and signalled for Bayern’s medical team to come onto the pitch.

It was clear that Bayern boss Julian Nagelsmann didn’t want to risk furthering Mane’s injury and withdrew the Senegal star for former Manchester City winger Leroy Sane.

Mane is the latest in a long-line of star names who are set to miss this year’s World Cup due to injury, which includes Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, Diogo Jota and Reece James.

The African nation begin their World Cup campaign against the Netherlands on Monday, before further group games with Qatar and Ecuador.


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