CAPE TOWN – Senegal have received a massive boost for their 2018 World Cup qualifier double-header against Bafana Bafana next month after Sadio Mané was included in their squad despite nursing a hamstring injury.
Senegal coach Aliou Cisse said in a statement on Wednesday that he was confident that Liverpool star Mané would be ready for the deciders against South Africa on November 10 and 14.
The two qualifiers will determine both teams’ fates to make it to Russia next year.
Mané picked up the hamstring strain on October 7 while on national duty with the Lions of Teranga in a 2-0 victory over Cape Verde away in Praia, which Liverpool said on October 10 will keep him sidelined for up to six weeks.
The full six weeks should mean that he may return around November 24 only, but Cisse dispelled that notion.
“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.”
Mané missed the big Liverpool clash against Manchester United last weekend, as well as the 7-0 Champions League thrashing of Maribor on Tuesday.
Senegal need just two more points to make it to the World Cup, while Bafana must win both matches to get to Russia out of Group D.