Saturday Nov 19, 2022. 13:00
Nathan Ake has warned the Netherlands not to write off Senegal now that their star player Sadio Mane will not be featuring at the 2022 World Cup.
Mane underwent surgery on a knee injury he sustained during Bayern Munich’s 6-1 mauling of Werder Bremen last week, which has ruled him out of the global showpiece.
The 30-year-old forward had initially been included in Aliou Cisse’s 26-man squad for the tournament as the head coach remained hopeful he would recover in time to play some part in Qatar.
However, further MRI scans revealed the extent of the injury and surgery was required to repair the damage, putting an end to Mane’s World Cup dream.
Manchester City defender Ake insists the Oranje would be foolish to underestimate the Lions of Teranga in their Group A opener on Monday, saying they still pose a big threat despite the absence of their talisman.
“It’s going to be very tough. Senegal has good players and very strong strikers, even without Mane,” the Dutchman told Algemeen Dagblad.
“Missing the World Cup due to an injury is very annoying, not only for him. Everyone wants to see the top players at work here.
“The fact that Mane is not there is therefore a loss for this World Cup. But we still have to prepare for a very tough job, because Senegal remains very strong. We analyse them well.”