As the laundry list of injured stars continues to mount in the run-up to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, there remains a small chance that one casualty could be avoided after Bayern Munich and Senegal star Sadio Mané has yet to be ruled out of the winter tournament.
The current injury concern for the 30-year-old Senegalese icon came in the wake of a cadre of names being added to the growing list of players that will not be representing their country in Qatar, with Giovani Lo Celso and Jesús Corona now confirmed as of yesterday to miss out on proceedings for Argentina and Mexico respectively.
Mané was included in Julian Nagelsmann’s XI for Bayern during their 6-1 win over SV Werder Bremen at the Allianz Arena last night but was removed during the first half and seen limping off the pitch before gesturing to the home support in a show of gratitude.
But according to Bayern in a report on their official website, Mané is sure to miss out against FC Schalke 04 at the weekend but has not been ruled out of the World Cup as of yet with further tests to come this week.
This has indeed been corroborated by the Fédération Sénégalaise de Football who put out their own statement.
“We haven’t yet received any official communication from Bayern Munich regarding Sadio Mané.”
“When we do, we’ll also have our Team Doctor check him to assess the situation. We did the same for Edouard Mendy in September.”
Certainly, an entire nation - and countless neutral fans alike - will be left sweating it out over the fitness of a player who has become admired across the footballing landscape for his work on and off the pitch, as well as recently headlining Senegal’s first-ever African Cup of Nations win.
As one of the real potential dark horses in Qatar after being drawn in Group A alongside the host nation, European powerhouse Netherlands, and South American outfit Ecuador, Mané's absence would be a hammer blow for head coach and former international Aliou Cissé that the Lions of Teranga may not be able to recover from.
Any chance that Mané could play some part in the action this winter, even if it meant missing part of the group stage - including their key clash against Oranje to open group play - is sure to be on the table.
For the time being, it is nothing more than a waiting game.