World Cup 2022: Sadio Mane's absence a big blow to the football world - Aliou Cisse

Published on: 21 November 2022

Senegal manager, Aliou Cisse says Sadio Mane's absence at the 2022 World Cup is a big blow to the football world.

Bayern Munich forward Mane will miss the tournament due to a knee injury.

The African champions open their campaign against Group A opponents the Netherlands today with kick off scheduled at 16:00 GMT.

"We are not just talking about Senegalese people but people around the world and the whole football family is saddened," said Cisse.

"He represents the African continent as well as Senegal," he added. "I have received phone calls from around the world.

"All coaches build teams around their best player, that is also the case for us. We have a strong team as well, with experienced and young players ready to rise to the challenge."

Netherlands captain Virgil van Dijk said he spoke to his former Liverpool team-mate Mane.

"As a friend I just wanted to know how he was. I feel sad for him. I know how hard he worked for this and he wants to be important for Senegal," he added.

"He has been important in the last few years especially. It is tough. Obviously he will be a big miss for them. Hopefully we can benefit a little bit from that."