Sadio Mane, who finished second in this year’s Ballon d’Or, was named to Senegal’s World Cup squad by coach Aliou Cisse on Friday in spite of a recent injury.
Senegal coach Aliou Cissé named the Bayern Munich forward in his 26-man squad to the relief of a nation that had been fretting over whether Mané would be able to lead Senegal’s challenge in Qatar.
Cisse said he hoped the condition of the Bayern Munich attacker would improve within a few weeks and declared himself “really optimistic” that the injury would not require an operation.
“The good news today is that there is no need for operation. Sadio is a special player in our squad so it is important to follow his injury and hope that in two or three weeks there will be a change but we are optimistic,” said Aliou Cisse.
Mane’s involvement in the tournament was in doubt after he limped off during his club Bayern Munich’s 6-1 win over Werder Bremen on Tuesday.
The 30-year-old was diagnosed with an injury to his right fibula and will undergo further tests.
“I preferred to keep him in the group,” Cisse told reporters.
“Sadio Mane is an important player in our squad, it is important to continue to follow his injury, hoping that in two or three weeks there will be progress. But we are really optimistic.
“We will give ourselves all the necessary means to allow Sadio Mane to recover.”
Mane’s fitness has been a major cause of concern in Senegal, the current African champions, with state president Macky Sall tweeting on Wednesday: “Sadio, heart of a Lion! All my heart is with you!”
The African champion team has been slightly reshuffled. There is a clear absence of the best left-back at the last CAN Saliou Ciss who is currently without a club. His brother Pathé Ciss, who plays in Spain, has been included. Ismail Jakobs, Illiman Ndiaye, Nicolas Jackson, Formose Mendy have also been selected for the first time for an official competition.
Senegal opens its World Cup campaign against the Netherlands in Group A on Nov. 21, giving Mané 10 days to recover.
The Lions of Teranga will also play host Qatar and Ecuador in Group A.