Senegal national team coach Aliou Cisse has confirmed that star forward Sadio Mane will miss their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations opener against Tanzania on June 23.
The 27-year-old is suspended for the Group C match in Cairo due to suspension – he reportedly picked up two yellow cards during the qualification campaign and is therefore ineligible for one match.
"His absence should not in any way bother us," coach Cisse told Senegalese media just before they departed their training camp in Alicante in Spain for Egypt.
"Certainly the presence of Sadio is beneficial but without him we remain strong. The CAF [Confederation of African Football] has decided, so we will not linger," Cisse added.
Mane was booked in Senegal's 1-0 win away to Equatorial Guinea on 17 November 2018 and also appears to have been cautioned in their 2-0 victory over Madagascar on 23 March 2019, although it is not confirmed in CAF’s match statistics.
The Liverpool forward, who won the UEFA Champions League with his club earlier this month, is expected to return to Senegal's line-up for their remaining Group C matches against Algeria on June 27 and Kenya on July 1.