Senegal mourns Sadio Mané, World Cup withdrawal

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Senegalese striker Sadio Mané during the African Cup of Nations in Yaoundé, Cameroon, in February 2022.

In the Sandaga market district, in the center of Dakar, the 2022 World Cup football shirts stamped Sadio Mané are hung everywhere in front of shops and street stands. “He’s the best, the team will miss him”saddened Cheikh Bamba who tries to sell copies of the original jersey to passers-by.

Thursday, November 17, the Senegalese striker, African golden ball, forfeited the World Cup in Qatar, while the Senegal must play its first match on November 21 against the Netherlands. The Bayern Munich player suffered a right fibula injury last week during a German championship match.

“Unfortunately, the MRI shows us that the evolution is not favorable as we imagined and we unfortunately resolve to declare Sadio’s withdrawal from the World Cup”, said the team’s doctor, Manuel Afonso, in a video posted on the Senegalese Football Federation’s Twitter account. According to him, “Surgical intervention should be scheduled soon”.

The announcement immediately caused chain reactions in Senegal, which lost its star three days before the start of the world competition. ” Health before all. You will come back even stronger”declared President Macky Sall who wished him a “speedy recovery” on Twitter the same evening.

“The attacking asset of our team”

On Friday morning, most of the newspapers made their headlines about the absence of the star of the Lions. “Mané’s package makes Senegal cry”laments the sports newspaper Stadiums. “Hard blow for the Lions and for all Senegalese”adds the daily The echoeswhile Daily Walf wonders: “Doomsday scenario for the Lions. Who can replace Senegal’s trump card? » Coach Aliou Cissé has yet to name a replacement. He has until Sunday, the day before Senegal enters the competition, to decide.

Read also: Senegalese Sadio Mané named best African football player of the year for the second time

“It’s a big disappointment because Sadio Mané is the attacking asset of our team”comments Talla Fall, director of communication of the Generation Foot academy through which the Senegalese center-forward passed. “He is the one who strikes, who can eliminate players and make a cross. It is he who makes the difference in the final third and pushes his partners to surpass themselveshe analyzes, even if he believes that this defection is also an opportunity for players like Ismaïla Sarr to “to reveal oneself to the face of the world”.

“The latter has many qualities: he dribbles, hits while running and he runs fast”, assures Mr. Fall. He nevertheless regrets that this 2022 World Cup is organized in full during the European championships, only allowing the players to be released ten days before the start of the competition.

Read also: Sadio Mané, the “ball wizard” with a flawless course

In the streets of Dakar, the supporters still want to keep hope, also ensuring that other players can take the lead. “We will win even without Sadio Mané, you just have to believe in it and make an effort”, assures Papa Niang, who shares a glass of tea with colleagues. He and his comrades review the footballers who play in major European clubs such as Bamba Dieng (Olympique de Marseille), Ismaïla Sarr (Watford FC) or Ilimane Ndiaye (Sheffield United). His companion Mansour Mbodj says he has confidence in the national team which won them the African Cup of Nations in Cameroon in February. “We don’t just rely on one player but on a whole grouphe recalls. The Lions will go to the final, Inch’Allah. »

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