Sadio Mane: Liverpool icon's 'death contract' offer to Senegal at AFCON

Sadio Mane

Earlier this year, Sadio Mane inspired Senegal to Africa Cup of Nations glory.

The Liverpool legend – who recently signed for Bayern Munich – was named Player of the Tournament as the Lions of Teranga lifted the trophy for the very first time.

Senegal beat Mohamed Salah‘s Egypt side on penalties in the final, Mane himself converting the winning spot kick in front of a raucous crowd inside Cameroon’s Olembe Stadium.

Mane scored three goals at the tournament in total, including the opener in his side’s 2-0 victory over Cape Verde in the last-16.

However, the 30-year-old had to be subbed off shortly after that goal following a nasty collision with goalkeeper Vozinha just before he rippled the back of the net.

As a result of that clash, Mane was a huge doubt for Senegal’s quarter-final encounter against Equatorial Guinea due to concussion protocols.

Mane was determined to play the match, though, and in a recent interview, the world-class forward revealed the great lengths he was willing to go to in order to play.

Sadio Mane is treated by doctors
Soccer Football – Africa Cup of Nations – Round of 16 – Senegal v Cape Verde – Kouekong Stadium, Bafoussam, Cameroon – January 25, 2022 Senegal’s Sadio Mane receives medical attention after sustaining an injury REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

Mane’s ‘death contract’ offer to Senegal at 2021 AFCON

“When I got injured against Cape Verde and I had concussion, I never talked about it that day,” Mane told Pro Direct Soccer France, per Goal.

“Liverpool put pressure on the federation and wrote a letter to FIFA that I needed at least five days rest so that meant I was to miss the quarter-finals.

“Our national team doctor also had to follow those rules. When they told me that, I called the coach and told him ‘The doctor does not want me to play but you have to put me in the starting 11’.

“I called the federation president and told him we need to have a meeting because I have to play. I could give up my life.”

Kalidou Koulibay looks at Sadio Mane
Soccer Football – Africa Cup of Nations – Round of 16 – Senegal v Cape Verde – Kouekong Stadium, Bafoussam, Cameroon – January 25, 2022 Senegal’s Sadio Mane receives medical attention after sustaining an injury REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

Mane was eventually named in the starting XI for Senegal’s 3-1 victory over Equatorial Guinea, to which the Bayern star added: “I said ‘I know I shouldn’t play but let us have a contract. It will be my responsibility, I will sign’. If I die, they have to say it is my fault. No one’s fault. They said ‘Sadio, you cannot play’ but I said ‘no, no, it is out of the question’.

“It was around 1am or 2am, everyone panicked and I said ‘coach, I know even you are scared. Just write a letter that says I played voluntarily in case I die or whatever happens’. Everyone was tense.

“I did not sign the paper but they finally said ‘no, no it’s not possible’ but I was ready to do it so the doctor said ‘Okay, let us do a scan in the morning the day of the match’.

“In the morning, we did the scan, we sent it to the Confederation of African Football, they checked with the doctor, there was nothing so the doctor said ‘Okay, you can play’ because to see me sign a paper would be complicated for him as well. Thank God everything went well.”

Sadio Mane after winning AFCON
Soccer Football – Africa Cup of Nations – Final – Senegal v Egypt – Olembe Stadium, Yaounde, Cameroon – February 6, 2022 Senegal’s Sadio Mane celebrates after winning the Africa Cup of Nations REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Crazy, right? Mane was willing to put his life on the line in order to represent his country.

Mane and the rest of the talented Senegal squad, which includes the likes of Kalidou Koulibaly, Ismaila Sarr and Edouard Mendy, will now be targeting a successful run at the 2022 World Cup following their AFCON triumph.

Aliou Cisse’s side take on Holland, Ecuador and host nation Qatar in the opening round, a group they’re expected to progress from with relative ease.

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