Senegal has suffered a huge blow just days out from the FIFA World Cup with star forward Sadio Mane ruled out of the tournament due to injury.

The team’s representatives confirmed that Mane will need surgery on his leg to fix the injury he suffered while representing Bayern Munich in the team’s last fixture before the world cup break.

“Unfortunately, today’s (Thursday) MRI shows us that the recovery is not as favourable as we hoped and we, unfortunately, resolve to declare Sadio’s withdrawal from the World Cup,” Senegal team doctor Manuel Afonso told reporters.

The 30-year-old was named in Senegal’s squad despite the fears he will not be able to recover in time for their campaign.

His absence is a big blow for his side who are seen as Africa’s best hope of reaching the latter stages of the competition. Sadio Mane played a central role in helping Senegal reach the World Cup in Qatar.

He scored the winning penalty at the Africa Cup of Nations final in Cameroon in February and six weeks later secured a World Cup qualification by beating Egypt on both occasions on post-match penalties.

Without the two-time “African Footballer of the Year”, Senegal may face a challenge getting out of Group A which includes the Netherlands, Qatar and Ecuador.

Many big names are already missing from the biggest stage in football through injury, including Paul Pogba, Diogo Jota, Christopher Nkunku, N’Golo Kante and Timo Werner.

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