Senegal's Sadio Mane ruled out of Qatar World Cup
Senegal forward Sadio Mane has been ruled out of the World Cup in Qatar in a crushing blow to his team’s chances after officials confirmed on Thursday he would need surgery on a leg injury sustained in the run-up to the tournament.
Mane had been a doubt for the west African side after injuring his right fibula playing for German club Bayern Munich.
"Unfortunately, today's (Thursday) MRI shows us that the recovery is not as favourable as we hoped and we unfortunately resolve to declare Sadio's withdrawal from the World Cup," Senegal team doctor Manuel Afonso told reporters.
The forward has been crucial to the recent success of Senegal, who are regarded as Africa's best hope at the World Cup.
His absence will be a blow to their chances of advancing out of Group A, where they face the Netherlands on Monday before playing host nation Qatar and Ecuador.
Mane has been the team's talisman, scoring the winning penalty at the Africa Cup of Nations final in Cameroon in February and six weeks later securing World Cup qualification. On both occasions they edged out Egypt on post-match penalties.
Mane, 30, has twice been named African Footballer of the Year.
He is also known for his philanthropy, and received the inaugural Socrates award earlier this year in recognition of his charity work.
Over the past few years, Mane has built a public hospital and funded schools and families in his home village of Bambali, and also donated to the Senegalese National Committee to help fight the Covid-19 pandemic.