Senegal vs Ivory Coast: Should Sadio Mane have been dismissed for dangerous play?


FOOTBALL Senegal vs Ivory Coast: Should Sadio Mane have been dismissed for dangerous play?

Festus Chuma 14:33 - 30.01.2024

Sadio Mane's controversial tackle in the Africa Cup of Nations sparked debate over refereeing standards and player safety enforcement

Sadio Mane found himself at the center of a contentious incident during the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations round of 16 clash as he nearly received a straight red card.

Mane's lunging tackle on Ivory Coast's Ibrahim Sangaré sent ripples of concern and debate through the Charles Konan Banny Stadium as fans and officials alike scrutinized the challenge that threatened to overshadow the tournament's praised standards of officiating.

According to the IFAB Laws of the Game, "A tackle or challenge that endangers the safety of an opponent, or uses excessive force or brutality, must be sanctioned as serious foul play." 

This clause further elaborates that any player who lunges at an opponent with one or both legs, using excessive force or endangering their safety, is guilty of serious foul play.

Despite the clear guidelines, the center referee, Pierre Ghislain Atcho from Gabon, and the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) team decided not to send Mane off.

This decision is particularly puzzling given Atcho's experience, having previously officiated two World Cup qualifiers, nine CAF Champions League matches, and eight CAF Confederation Cup games.

It is worth noting that there are variations in the rules regarding a player being pardoned if they fail to connect with the opponent's body.

However, in Mane's case, replays clearly showed contact with Sangaré’s leg. Fortunately, Sangaré was not seriously injured and was able to continue playing, which may have influenced the decision to keep Mane in the game.

The outcome of the match further complicated the debate. Ivory Coast, considered the underdogs, managed to stun the defending champions, Senegal, in a dramatic penalty shootout, advancing to the quarterfinals.

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