Sadio Mane has been asked by Liverpool not to risk his health by playing in Senegal’s African Cup of Nations (AFCoN) quarter-final against Equatorial Guinea.
Mane has been instructed by his club to avoid playing in Sunday night’s encounter, according to the Daily Mail, in what has been described as a “direct request” from the Reds.
Following a clash with opposition goalkeeper Vozinha, who was awarded a straight red card, the 29-year-old was knocked out during Senegal’s last AFCoN encounter against Cape Verde on Tuesday.
Sadio Mane continued on the field for the first half and scored as Senegal won 2-0; however, the forward was eventually pulled in the 70th minute and brought to the hospital after complaining of dizziness.
Former Premier League striker Chris Sutton criticized Senegal’s handling of the player’s injuries earlier this week.
“Mane collides with the goalkeeper at speed, then fails to break his fall, landing face-first instead,” Sutton told the Daily Mail.
“He’s unable to lift his head while lying on his back.
“There only needs to be the slightest suspicion of concussion for the player to be substituted. Yet he was helped back up and pretty much told, ‘You’ve passed the tests. On you go, son’.
“After celebrating his goal, he dropped to the deck and then was a concussion substitute.
It would be a ridiculous attitude from Senegal, from the Confederation of African Football, from FIFA or from anybody with influence in this situation, if he featured on Sunday.
“If Sadio Mane does feature, that will be proof of football putting results ahead of players. This is the reality of football’s attitude towards brain injuries. It really is remarkable.”
Brain charity Headway has also accused Senegal of putting results before Mane’s health and has called on FIFA to intervene.
Liverpool appears to be equally worried about Mane’s well-being, having contacted their world-class No. 10 to express their position.
If the incident had occurred in the Premier League, Mane would have been forced to miss Liverpool’s next match owing to existing English football rules.
Senegal team doctor Abdourahmane Fdior, on the other hand, insists there was no concussion.
“All symptoms he had on the pitch are gone,” he said in a statement. “Everything is normal on the X-ray.”