Sadio Mane's relationship with Senegal FA hits sour note amidst criticism

Sadio Mane's relationship with Senegal FA hits sour note amidst criticism

Festus Chuma 17:12 - 27.06.2024

The Al Nassr star is under criticism from the Senegal FA president for comments about the national team's strategy and performance in 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Two-time African Player of the Year Sadio Mané has been criticized by Augustin Senghor, the president of the Senegalese Football Federation, for comments he made regarding the national team's performance during the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

During the international break, while sidelined with an injury and not playing in the matches against DR Congo and Mauritania, Mane criticized the team's tactics.

His remarks sparked significant backlash as Senegal struggled to a 1-1 draw with DR Congo but managed to secure a 1-0 victory over Mauritania, maintaining their position in the qualifiers.

"In my opinion, I think we need to review our system," said Mane.

"We tried to play with more combinations but overall I would say it didn't work as it should. So to be formidable, I think we must, as I said, review the system."

However, Senghor, in a response published by Wiwsport and Afrik-Foot, indicated that Mane's public expression of these thoughts was ill-timed and inappropriate.

"It is not in a microphone that I will give our entire position on this statement by Sadio Mane," he remarked.

"If I really comment on this statement, I will agree with him on his mistake."

Senghor further elaborated that as the president, it was his responsibility to correct Mane publicly.

"However, as president of the federation, I think that he should not have spoken at that time. It would be a big mistake on my part if I did not say so. It is my duty to be frank. I admire and respect Sadio Mane a lot, and it is precisely for this reason that I must tell him that he was wrong, if he is wrong."

The timing of Mane's comments, especially as they were not solicited by journalists at the time, was particularly problematic, according to Senghor.

"It is not negotiable to express oneself at this time, especially since the question was not even asked to him," he said.

"To tell you, I was sent the video at 2 am. When I watched it, I was very surprised. He deflected journalists' questions."

Senghor concluded his statement with a plea for Mane to maintain his characteristic demeanor, which he described as normally reserved and timely.

"The Sadio Mane we know must not change. I am not saying that he should not speak, but his speech must be rare, clear, and at the right time."

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