CAIRO – We are all in agreement that football is a team sport, but there are some individuals so hugely talented and influential that they can single-handedly carry a team.
When Senegal and Algeria battle it out for the crown of African champions in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations at the Cairo International Stadium tonight (9pm), both countries will have in their starting line-up a player they will pin their hopes on.
For Senegal’s Lions of Teranga, seeking their maiden continental title, Sadio Mane of Liverpool is that man. Algeria’s Desert Foxes will depend on Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez.
Both these players arrived in Egypt having put special club football medals into their cabinets.
After a titanic battle for English Premier League supremacy, with City and Liverpool pushing each other every week, Mahrez’s City finished as champions of England with a massive 98 points - one ahead of Mane’s Liverpool, who consoled themselves with the Uefa Champions League title for the sixth time.