Sadio Mane predicts Senegal will reach AFCON final and teases team-mates Salah & Keita

Chidalu Obiajulu

Senegal and Liverpool’s star Sadio Mane has teased his club team-mates MoSalah and Naby Keita as he prepares to kickstart his Africa Cup of Nations campaign with Senegal, claiming: “I can’t play against two teams in the final.”

The African Cup Of Nation kicked-off yesterday evening, with Cameroon starting the tournament opener by beating Burkina Faso 2-1, with Mane’s Senegal set to play their first match against Zimbabwe today.

The Senegalese decided to release a video on social media ahead of their tournament opener bullishly claiming: “His side would reach the final” as he wished Salah and Keita good luck with Egypt and Guinea respectively.

The forward, who will face Keita’s Guinea in Senegal’s second group stage clash on the 14th of January, said: “I have a special message for my good friends… Naby Keita and Mo Salah.”

“Unfortunately I can’t play against two teams in the final, so I have to play against one.” He predicted Senegal would beat one of the teams 1-0 in the final, adding: “I want to say good luck to all of you, I’ll see you soon.”

Mane and Salah are both seen as the two top players at AFCON this month, and as a result both Senegal and Egypt are seen as the two favourites to lift the trophy.

While Mane might be confident in his team’s chances at the tournament, it hasn’t been the best starts for Senegal in Cameroon after being hit by a Covid outbreak.

Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy has become the latest player ruled out of their tournament opener against Zimbabwe on Monday, joining Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly and Alanyaspor striker Famara Diedhiou.

Senegal now has eight players who have tested positive for Covid, with Saliou Ciss, Bamba Dieng, Mame Baba Thiam, Pape Matar Sarr, Alfred Gomis and Leicester’s Nampalys Mendy having to remain in Senegal ahead of this game after also returning positive tests.

“Senegal boss Aliou Cisse described the situation as ‘difficult’, but said the squad are still confident of beating Zimbabwe with a depleted side.”

He said: “It’s a difficult and complicated situation. But we are going to be competitive and those there are going to play for those who are absent.”

“We are still going into the game against Zimbabwe full of confidence, and hoping we’ll get a better result in that encounter, so as to give us upper hand in topping the group.”