SADIO Mane will be unavailable for selection for Senegal’s first game in the Africa Cup of Nations.
Senegal manager Aliou Cisse confirmed the 27-year-old had been suspended for one match because he picked up two yellow cards in their Nations Cup qualifiers.
He was booked in their away win to Equatorial Guinea in 2018 and also in their 2-0 victory over Madagascar, however a decision has only been made now – the week before the tournament. Mane will therefore be out of the squad to face Tanzania on 23 June, but should return for Senegal’s next two group stage games against Algeria and Kenya.
Cisse refused to be drawn into criticising the governing bodies when asked about the decision, and also seemed unworried about being without arguably his best player. He said: “His absence should not in any way bother us.
“Certainly the presence of Sadio is beneficial but without him we remain strong. “The CAF [Confederation of African Football] has decided, so we will not linger.”
The tournament, which is being held in Egypt, kicks off on Friday 21 June when the host nation take on Zimbabwe. Egypt, led by Mohamed Salah and with home advantage, are considered the favourites for the tournament, but Senegal and Ghana are also heavily fancied.
But losing Mane for the opening game is clearly a blow. The European Cup winner was the joint top scorer in the Premier League last season, scoring 22 goals and sharing the Golden Boot award with Salah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.