Huge blow to Liverpool superstar after picking Afcon match suspension

By Clinton Nyabuto: Sunday, June 16th 2019 at 13:09 GMT +3 | Football
Sadio Mane will miss Senegal's opening match in the Africa Cup of Nations [Photo, Courtesy]

Liverpool superstar Sadio Mane has been struck with a blow after picking up a suspension for Senegal's opening match in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

Senegal coach Aliou Cisse confirmed that the Senegalese will miss the opening fixture against Tanzania after picking up two yellow cards in the earlier AFCON qualifiers.

The 27-year-old winger was booked in Senegal's away win to Equatorial Guinea in November last year and also in their 2-0 victory over Madagascar on March 23.

The Liverpool superstar will sit out the Teranga Lions' inaugural Group C fixture on June 23 but will be available for the showdown with Algeria on June 27 and their final group-stage clash against Kenya on July 1.

However, Senegal head coach Cisse believes the team will remain strong despite the absence of the star in their first tie.

"His absence should not in any way bother us," Cisse said.

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"Certainly the presence of Sadio is beneficial but without him, we remain strong,”

"CAF have decided, so we will not linger [on the subject],”

"Certainly, with Sadio we would be very good, but even without him we will be very good,”

“We all know that Sadio will have a good Nations Cup [but] the players around him have to raise their level. That's how we'll get there."

The Senegalese scored 22 Premier League goals in the 2018/19 season [Photo, Courtesy]

Cisse also expressed his discontent on the suspension pointing out that the bookings in qualifiers should not be carried on to the main tournament.

"If we received a card in the qualifying round, I do not see the value of counting it during the final phase of the AFCON,” Cisse said.

“CAF has decided that but we will prove that Senegal exists without Mane," the Senegalese added.

Mane missed the decisive penalty Senegal’s quarterfinal shootout defeat to Cameroon in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations as Cameroon goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa saved his spot kick.

The Liverpool star will now be keen in Egypt after savouring a magnificent season with the Reds netting 22 Premier League goals and leading his side to a Champions League triumph.

Mane joined the Teranga Lions training camp in Spain on Thursday before departing for Egypt with the team on Friday.

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