Sadio Mane will miss Senegal’s opening Africa Cup of Nations fixture against Tanzania due to a suspension, according to Teranga Lions coach Aliou Cisse.
The Liverpool superstar will sit out the West Africans’ first Group C fixture—which will take place at the 30 June Stadium in Cairo on June 23—after picking up two yellow cards during the qualifying campaign.
Mane picked up a yellow card in Senegal’s 1-0 victory against Equatorial Guinea in Malabo on November 17, with the Confederation of African Football also recording another booking in a 2-0 victory over Madagascar on March 23.
“His absence should not in any way bother us,” coach Cisse told local journalists, as per BBC Sport. “Certainly the presence of Sadio is beneficial but without him we remain strong.
“Caf have decided, so we will not linger [on the subject].”
Senegal departed for Egypt on Saturday, having previously been at a training camp in Alicante.
After missing the opener, Mane will return for the showdown with Algeria on June 27 and their final group-stage clash, against Kenya on July 1.
“Certainly, with Sadio we would be very good, but even without him we will be very good,” explained the coach of the Lions of Teranga.
The tournament will be Mane’s third Africa Cup of Nations, he missed the decisive penalty in Senegal’s quarter-final shootout defeat by eventual champions Cameroon in 2017, and was a muted presence as the Lions were eliminated in the group stage of the World Cup.
“We all know that Sadio will have a good Nations Cup,” Cisse continued, as per Ahram Online. “The players around him have to raise their level. That’s how we’ll get there.
“If we received a card in the qualifying round, I do not see the value of counting it during the final phase of the Afcon,” he continued.
“Caf has decided that, but we will prove that Senegal exist without Mane.”
Mane only joined his teammates on Thursday after being given an extended leave of absence following his exploits for Liverpool in their Champions League final victory over Tottenham Hotspur.
On Sunday, the Lions meet Nigeria in Ismailia in a warm-up ahead of the Nations Cup kick-off.