Sadio Mane sent a rallying message to the Senegal squad he has left behind at the Qatar World Cup after being ruled out by injury.
Sadio Mane is backing Senegal’s Lions of Teranga to show they still have sharp claws without him in Monday’s World Cup opener against the Netherlands.
Bayern Munich striker Mane was supposed to lead the team’s trip to Qatar, but a severe leg injury ruled him out of the tournament.
On paper, the squad appears to be significantly weakened by his absence, but Mane says the reality may be somewhat different as he backs the group he left behind to rise to his challenge.
The former Liverpool star wrote on Instagram: “This Monday our dear country will be competing in the Qatar 2022 World Cup. I’m sure the Lions will go above and beyond and treat every game like a true final.
“I am also confident that all Senegalese will be in front of the small screen to support and cheer on our brave national team.
“Like all ‘Taniere’ [John of the Lions] supporters, I am confident that my teammates will fight as one man and as they usually do to honor our dear Senegal. Long live Senegal, come on Lions.”
Senegal were a surprise quarter-finalist in 2002 and, as reigning African Cup of Nations champions, were seen by many as the continent’s best hope for World Cup success this time around.
Losing your mane will change that perception for many observers.
The 30-year-old had a tendon reattached to the head of his right fibula after being left out of the Senegal squad and could spend several months on the sidelines.
Thanking supporters, Mane wrote: “Many of you sent me messages of support after my injury. Thank God the surgery I had midweek went well. I want to take this opportunity to thank and show my appreciation to all of you.”