Liverpool intervene in Mane controversy by pleading with forward and Senegal FA
Liverpool have personally contacted Sadio Mane in an attempt to prevent him playing in the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals.
Mane is expected to feature for Senegal against Equatorial Guinea on Sunday evening, only five days after being knocked out during the victory over Cape Verde in the last round.
The 29-year-old seemed to briefly lose consciousness following a collision with goalkeeper Vozinha, recovering enough to score in the 2-0 win but being substituted soon after.
Reports suggested he was taken to hospital after complaining of dizziness.
While concussion protocols in the Premier League would automatically rule Mane out of the next match, there is no such obligation at AFCON and the recent image of Mane using an exercise bike and taking part in Senegal training on Saturday has led to fear at Anfield.
The Mail on Sunday state that Liverpool have been in touch with both Mane and Senegal ‘to make their stance clear’: that he should not play so soon after the incident.
But the Reds have no sway on the final decision, although they do have the support of brain injury charity Headway, whose chief executive Luke Griggs accused Senegal of putting success ahead of player welfare:
“On the face of it, this seems to be yet another example of football putting results ahead of player safety,” he 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.
“This is now a real test of leadership for The Confederation of African Football and world governing body Fifa – particularly if Senegal declare Mane fit for Sunday’s quarter-final.
“If football wants to be taken seriously when it comes to concussion, it simply must take action to enforce and strengthen its protocols.”
Senegal team doctor Abdourahmane Fdior has tried to alleviate any concerns by clearing Mane to play.
“All the symptoms he had on the pitch are gone,” he said in a statement released by the country’s FA. “His condition requires fairly close monitoring. Everything is normal on the X-ray.”