Sadio Mane injured in AFCON Round of 16

Liverpool FC, Sadio Mané (Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)
Liverpool FC, Sadio Mané (Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images) /

It’s everybody’s AFCON nightmare realized; in the 54th minute of Senegal’s tie against Cape Verde, Senegal and Liverpool star Sadio Mane collided with Cape Verde’s goalkeeper Vozinha and fell to the pitch unconscious with a head injury.  Cape Verde’s keeper was given a red card and sent off, and in a puzzling move, Mane stayed on the pitch.  It paid off for Senegal, as 9 minutes later, Sadio scored the match’s first goal to put Senegal ahead in a match in which they would defeat Cape Verde, 2-0.  Following the goal, in the 70th minute, Sadio Mane collapsed to the pitch yet again and was unable to continue.  He was finally subbed off.

What I want to know is why on Earth, was Mane allowed to continue playing at all in his current condition?!  With all that is known in the year 2022 about head injuries and concussions, it was absolutely reckless and abhorrent of Senegal’s boss, Ailou Cisse to let him continue to play.  There is no excuse- no competition, no glory is worth risking your brain and Cisse deserves consequences for his lack of care.

While at this point little is known about Mane’s condition, he posted to his Instagram story smiling and in good spirits. It appears that his AFCON is over, and he will begin the road to recovery.  This is a potential setback to the Reds, who had played well in the absence of Mane, Mohamed Salah, and Naby Keita, but now will likely be using a broken-up attacking front a bit longer than anticipated.  Liverpool returns to action on the 10th of February in a crucial match-up against Leicester City.

This adds to Liverpool’s bad luck with injuries over the international break.  In November, Andy Robertson and Jordan Henderson returned from the international break with minor injuries.  A year prior, Joe Gomez injured his patellar tendon and missed nearly a year while training with England.  In an interview in November, Jurgen Klopp simply stated “I hate international breaks.” And this one certainly won’t win him over.

Amidst all of my frustrations, my thoughts are all with Sadio Mane, and I’m hoping for a speedy recovery.