Senegal have confirmed Sadio Mane has been replaced by Anderlecht’s Moussa N’Diaye in their World Cup squad.
Mane was forced to withdraw from the tournament after suffering a leg injury in Bayern Munich’s final game before the World Cup break and has since undergone surgery to correct the issue.
The 30-year-old is undoubtedly the nation’s talisman and had been called up to Qatar despite doubts over his fitness as a result, but failed to recover in time to feature at the tournament.
Anderlecht confirmed in a statement posted to their website that 20-year-old N’Diaye had been called up to the squad as Mane’s replacement and will travel to Qatar today to link up with his teammates in camp already.
It comes as somewhat of a surprise considering N’Diaye is a left-back by trade and thus not a like-for-like switch for the injured Mane.
N’Diaye has turned out 13 times in all competitions so far this season for the Belgian side following his move from Barcelona B in the summer, but is yet to earn full international honours for his country having represented them at the Under-20 World Cup.
Mane’s attacking thrust was always going to prove immensely difficult to replace, but bringing in a defensive option instead of him leaves Senegal with just six attackers to choose between, including Watford’s Ismaila Sarr and Marseille’s Bamba Dieng.