Ghana’s opponents Senegal have been caught in the middle of a club versus country battle with English side Southampton who are refusing to release striker Sadio Mane claiming the in-form attacker will not be fit for this month’s Africa Cup of Nations because of a recent injury.
Saints boss Ronald Koeman insists his winger will not be fit to play for the Teranga Lions in Equatorial Guinea after being ruled out for four to six weeks with a calf injury.
But Senegal coach Alain Giresse has named Mane in his 23-man squad and has ordered him to report for duty on January 11 so the national team’s doctor can examine him.
Mane suffered the injury in Saints’ 2-0 win over Arsenal on New Year’s day .
Speaking after Sunday’s 1-1 FA Cup draw with Ipswich, Koeman said: “It will be four to six weeks.
“Senegal will maybe call him up but he will not play in the Africa Cup of Nations.”
Giresse clearly has a different opinion to Koeman and informed the Southampton boss he expects Mane to join up with the rest of the Senegal squad.
“Mane is on the list of 23 players, he has a muscle problem at the moment,” said Giresse.
Mane, an £11m summer buy from Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg, has just started to hit top form with three goals in his last three games for Koeman’s side.
Senegal begin their Africa Cup of Nations campaign against Ghana on January 19.
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