Senegal star Sadio Mane returns to AFCON training after head injury

Guinea's defender Issiaga Sylla (down) tackles Senegal's forward Sadio Mane during the Group B Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 football match between Senegal and Guinea at Stade de Kouekong in Bafoussam on January 14, 2022.

Senegal and Liverpool star Sadio Mane returned to training ahead of Sunday's Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final against Equatorial Guinea despite sustaining a head injury in the previous match.

He's doing well," Senegal coach Aliou Cisse was quoted as saying by AFP on Saturday. The Liverpool forward is likely to be available despite taking a heavy blow to the head in a 2-0 win over Cape Verde in the last 16.

He resumed training yesterday. We're gradually following his development and he's going to train today.

Mane was hurt following a collision with Cape Verde goalkeeper Vozinha, who was sent off as a result. Mane remained on the pitch and even scored the opening goal a few minutes later. However, he was eventually substituted after looking in discomfort.

The clash between the two players was a serious one, but he's a top-level athlete who knows his own body very well," said Cisse, explaining his decision to allow Mane to carry on.

When the clash happened he continued to play, our doctors came onto the pitch, the referee was there too. He was still conscious, the proof was him scoring the first goal.

He still had his wits about him when he came off. There was no alert on the bench that pushed us to make a change. But I can reassure you, the health of Sadio Mane and of all the players is very important. We've never gambled with the health of our players, the result will not be placed on top of that.

Cisse also revealed that Bamba Dieng, who scored the second goal in injury time against Cape Verde, had been held out of training as a precaution following a minor knock.

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