Sadio Mane will miss Senegal’s ‘first games’ of the World Cup due to injury.
The 30-year-old forward was forced off after just 15 minutes into Bayern Munich’s penultimate game before the winter break, prompting major concerns over his participation in Qatar.
Despite reports suggesting the injury would him out of the competition, Mane was named in the Senegal squad with the Teranga Lions getting their campaign off to a start against Netherlands on Monday 21 November.
They take on hosts Qatar four days later before concluding their group campaign against Ecuador on 29 November.
While not putting a specific timescale on his absence, the Senegal football federation have indicated Mane will miss at least one of those games.
‘We will have to rely on playing the first games without Sadio and win without Sadio,’ Senegal football federation (FSF) board member Abdoulaye Sow told AP.
‘No-one would have wanted it, but that’s what’s happened to us.’
Senegal forward Sadio Mane
Mane picked up his injury during Bayern’s 6-1 win over Werder Bremen with that blow overshadowing the victory.
Bayern boss Julian Nagelsmann had initially played down fears of Mane missing the World Cup, saying: ‘I can’t say anything for sure, he took a blow to the head of his shin.
‘That’s an unpleasant spot, it radiates a bit into the muscles. I think he has to go to the X-ray to see if there is something there, because it is splintering easily.
‘But I hope that nothing is wrong. I can’t say anything for sure yet.’
Senegal could be a last 16 opponent for England in a few weeks. If Gareth Southgate’s side win Group B ahead Wales, USA and Iran, they will take on the runners up of Senegal’s Group A.
Should England progress as group runners up, they will take on the Group A winners.