No Mane, no problem, says Senegal manager ahead of Tanzania clash at 2019 Africa Cup of Nations
The Liverpool forward, 27, is suspended for the match in Cairo after picking up two bookings in Afcon qualifying
Senegal kick off their bid to win the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations against Tanzania in Cairo on Sunday without suspended star player Sadio Mane.
The Liverpool forward scored 26 goals across competitions as Liverpool finished second in the Premier League and beat Tottenham Hotspur to win the Uefa Champions League in Madrid on June 1.
The 27 year old is serving a one-match ban after being yellow-carded twice during qualifying for the biennial continental championship.
"His absence should not in any way bother us," said Senegal manager Aliou Cisse.
"Certainly the presence of Sadio is beneficial, but without him we remain strong," added the former Paris Saint-Germain midfielder ahead of the Group C clash.
Cisse was part of the Senegal squad that finished runner-up at the 2002 Afcon and sees his 22nd-ranked side take on Tanzania, who sit 131st in the Fifa rankings, at 30 June Stadium.
Even without talisman Mane, who boasts 16 goals in 60 caps, Senegal are strong favourites to open their account with a victory.
Tanzania the second-lowest ranked of the 24 teams in Egypt, but manager Emmanuel Amunike, who was part of the Nigeria squad that won the 1994 Afcon title, said his charges were unfazed about facing one of the tournament favourites.
"Do not be surprised if you see some of these so-called big teams packing their bags early and heading home," he said.
Algeria, who boast Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez in their ranks, take on Kenya at the same venue in the other Group C match. That match kicks off at midnight (Monday) UAE time with Senegal v Tanzania a 9pm start.
Kenya are back at the Cup of Nations after a 15-year absence. The East Africans are led by Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Victor Wanyama.
Morocco face Namibia in Group D at 6.30pm at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo.
Updated: June 23, 2019 09:33 PM