PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Sadio Mane – Will South Africa contain him?

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Sadio Mane – Will South Africa contain him?
Sadio Mane

by Phumzile Ngcatshe

Friday Nov 10, 2017. 16:00

Following the decision by FIFA to order a replay of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier between South Africa and Senegal, all eyes will be on the Liverpool attacker Sadio Mane.

The Lions of Teranga are in South Africa, Polokwane in an aim to avoid a defeat at the hands of their hosts on Friday night.

Coach Aliou Cisse is a relieved man when it comes to player's availability after Mane was doubtful for the clash since suffering an injury in their previous clash against Cape Verde.

However, with the 25-year-old set to lead the West Africans' attack against a desperate Bafana under the guidance of Stuart Baxter, is it too much say he will carry the team on his shoulders after coming from an injury?

Without a doubt Mane is one of the most talented players in the squad, but some have questioned his quality when donning the national team jersey.

An argument is that when at Anfield Stadium, the former Red Bull Salzburg player becomes a different figure and shows a high degree of aggression, quality and an eye for goal.

Although Mane has featured in 100 matches for the Reds since 2016 in all competitions and netted 37 goals whilst producing 19 assists, he has 13 goals in 45 matches for the Lions (since 2014) – this means he doesn't score regularly for the country.

“We are not worried about Mané, he is a good player yes, make no mistake but if we are to listen to what we hear of him then we are a beaten team. But that is not how football works. We respect him, yes but we won’t give him any special treatment,” Baxter said.

When Senegal lost 2-1 at the same venue last year, Mane was part of the team.

This now gives a hint that Mane and his teamamtes can also lose on Friday night, but the man who is known as the 'Smiling Assassin' has to produce his magic and revive their hopes of reaching Russia.

Mane is definitely the man Senegal will hope to see rising to the occasion and make it happen for the country, for his family and his supporters worldwide, but will Bafana be able to contain him should he bring his A game?



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