Senegal have listed Sadio Mane in their national squad for two crucial World Cup qualifiers next month, despite the Liverpool forward being sidelined with a hamstring injury at the moment.
Mane, 25, was expected to be absent for six weeks having been injured in Senegal’s game against Cape Verde on 7 October — meaning that it would be expected for him to available for selection by Liverpool on 18 November.
However, Senegal’s coach, Aliou Cisse, has included the 25-year-old in his plans for CAF qualifiers against South Africa on 10 November and 14 November, while also stating that he is sure that Mane will be fit by those dates.
Still, the player himself is understood to be recovering well from his hamstring injury and his club, and additionally the final decision on whether Mane plays for Senegal will rest with the player and the national team, not Liverpool, with Senegal’s medical staff remaining in close contact with the former Southampton forward during his rehabilitation.
“In my mind there’s no doubt he will be with us for the double-header against South Africa and that he will be 100% fit,” Cisse said.
“Until now he has just been doing some individual training — running in straight lines — but from next week he is going to train harder and start working with the ball.”
Although Senegal are top of their qualifying group for the World Cup finals next summer, it remains that the nation still needs two points to secure a place in Russia.
Their first qualifying match against South Africa — which Senegal lost 2-1 last November — will be replayed during the next international break after FIFA decided that the officiating referee was guilty of match manipulation.