January 29, (THEWILL) – Sadio Mane of Liverpool has been approved to play in Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final against Equatorial Guinea, according to Senegal.
Mane appeared to be knocked out in a collision with Cape Verde goalie Vozinha, but he continued on the field and scored the game’s first goal before limping to the bench with a sleepy appearance and some obvious swelling on his face.
Abdourahmane Fedior, Senegal’s team doctor, has examined Mane’s condition since then and declared him fit to play on Sunday. In a statement making this clear, Fedior said: “All the symptoms he had on the pitch are gone. His condition requires fairly close monitoring. Everything is normal on the X-ray.”
Headway, a UK-based brain injury charity, slammed the decision to allow Mane to play against Cape Verde on a temporary basis, arguing that his value to Senegal – Mane has scored two of the team’s three goals this month – should not influence such decisions.
“On the face of it, this seems to be yet another example of football putting results ahead of player safety,” a statement read. “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. The image of the player collapsing on the ground and having to be helped from the pitch after scoring his goal should tell you everything you need to know about the impact and the effect it had had on his brain.
“Yet again, the desire to win is seen as being worth serious risks to players’ health. It is simply shocking that this continues to happen.
“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.”
Mane is not the only Liverpool player representing his country in the competition; Mohamed Salah is also in the quarter-finals on Sunday, representing Egypt.
Before Guinea was eliminated from the competition earlier this week, Naby Keita was a key player of the national team.