Mane declared fit for Senegal’s AFCON quarter-final despite head injury

Sadio Mane has been declared fit for Senegal’s Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final against Equatorial Guinea on Sunday, just days after suffering a head knock that saw him taken to hospital.

The Liverpool star clashed heads with opposing goalkeeper Vozinha – who was sent off – as Senegal beat Cape Verde in Tuesday’s last-16 clash in Bafoussam.

Mane went on to score the first goal in the 2-0 win, but was later forced to leave the field, looking groggy and with swelling on the side of his face.

The 29-year-old underwent examinations that showed no trace of concussion, according to Senegal’s doctor Abdourahmane Fdior.

“All the symptoms he had on the pitch are gone,” said Fdior in a statement released by the Senegal FA. “His condition requires fairly close monitoring. Everything is normal on the X-ray.”

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Highlights of the Africa Cup of Nations match between Senegal and Cape Verde

On Wednesday, brain-injury charity Headway criticised the decision to keep Mane on the field.

Luke Griggs, deputy chief executive of Headway, said: “This was a sickening collision that clearly left both players in enough distress for a concussion to have surely been considered a possibility at the very least.

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“At that point, the principle of ‘if in doubt, sit it out!’ should have resulted in Mane being substituted without another ball being kicked.

“The image of the player collapsing on the ground and having to be helped from the pitch after scoring his goal should tell you everything you need to know about the impact and the effect it had had on his brain.”

Mane – the reigning African Footballer of the Year – posted a picture of himself on social media on Friday with the caption “recovering”.

The forward is a major part of Senegal’s hopes of winning their first continental championship.

Aliou Cisse’s side were among the pre-tournament favourites but have so far looked far from convincing, despite reaching the last eight.

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Salif Diao says Senegal fans are expecting better performances from the team in AFCON after their 2-0 win over Cape Verde but the most important thing is to continue progressing through the tournament

Senegal qualified for the knockout stages after topping Group B, although they did so thanks to a 1-0 win over Zimbabwe followed by 0-0 draws against Guinea and Malawi.

Senegal then battled past Cape Verde in the last 16, but their opponents were reduced to nine men before they were able to open the scoring.

Headway statement

“On the face of it, this seems to be yet another example of football putting results ahead of player safety. This was a sickening collision that clearly left both players in enough distress for a concussion to have surely been considered a possibility at the very least. At that point, the principle of ‘if in doubt, sit it out!’ should have resulted in Mane being substituted without another ball being kicked.

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Former Senegal player Diao says that it was the right thing for Mane to come off eventually following his collision with the Cape Verde goalkeeper

“The image of the player collapsing on the ground and having to be helped from the pitch after scoring his goal should tell you everything you need to know about the impact and the effect it had had on his brain.

“Yet again, the desire to win is seen as being worth serious risks to players’ health. It is simply shocking that this continues to happen.

“This is now a real test of leadership for the Confederation of African Football and world governing body FIFA – particularly if Senegal declare Mane fit for Sunday’s quarter-final. If football wants to be taken seriously when it comes to concussion, it simply must take action to enforce and strengthen its protocols.”

AFCON 2021 quarter-final fixtures and results

Saturday January 29

Quarter-final 1: Cameroon vs Gambia, 4pm (Japoma Stadium, Douala) – Live on Sky Sports Premier League
Quarter-final 2: Burkina Faso vs Tunisia, 7pm (Roumde Adjia Stadium, Garoua) – Live on Sky Sports Premier League

Sunday January 30

Quarter-final 3: Egypt vs Morocco, 4pm (Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo, Yaounde) – Live on Sky Sports Premier League
Quarter-final 4: Senegal vs Equatorial Guinea, 7pm (Japoma Stadium, Douala) – Live on Sky Sports Football

Sky Sports to show AFCON live

The Africa Cup of Nations tournament will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in January and February.

The tournament, originally scheduled to be played in June and July 2021, will be played in Cameroon between January 9 and February 6, 2022, with Sky Sports showing all 52 games live.

Twenty-four teams will take part, kicking off on January 9 as hosts Cameroon host Burkina Faso in Yaounde, before culminating in the final on February 6 in the capital.

Source : Sky Sports