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Friday, February 3, 2023

AFCON: Mane Declared Fit for Senegal’s Quarter-final Match Despite Head Injury

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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.”

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.

“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.

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.

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