Sadio Mane: Liverpool star underlines his 'important' role for Senegal at Afcon 2021

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Sadio Mane (R) of Senegal in action against Ivan Salvador of Equatorial Guinea.
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The 29-year-old reveals his readiness to give everything for the Lions of Teranga after they reached the last four of the competition

Liverpool forward Sadio Mane has revealed how he is ready to play everywhere for Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

Despite the major doubts that he could have missed the quarter-final game against Equatorial Guinea owing to an injury sustained in the game against Cape Verde in the Round of 16, the 29-year-old featured and played a key role as the Lions of Teranga cruised to a 3-1 win.

Goals from Famara Diedhiou, Cheikhou Kouyate, and Ismaila Sarr helped Senegal to beat the Nzalang Nacional, who pulled a goal back courtesy of Jannick Buyla Sam but it was not enough to help them progress at Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde, Cameroon on Sunday.

It was Mane, who set up Diedhiou for the opening goal.

“It’s my job [to be ready to play everywhere]. I have to do it because I think it's really important for me,” Mane said as quoted by BBC Sport Africa. “It’s important for the boys to make sure we win the game, so to win you have to do everything and make all the sacrifices necessary.”

On whether Senegal’s display against the Nzalang Nacional was their best ever so far in the 33rd edition of the competition, Mane said: “I think all the games, for me, are the best. Of course, I know people always look for nice football, try to create chances, and score and that's normal.

“But as a football player, you can't expect this all the time. Doing this without winning makes no sense.”

The West African side finished as runner-up in the last edition held in 2019 in Egypt after losing 1-0 against Algeria in the final and Mane thinks his side must continue to improve if they are to grace another final.

“We have enough time to prepare, see the videos, and improve because it's important,” Mane continued.

Meanwhile, Senegal Football Federation president Augustin Senghor is confident the Lions of Teranga can go further than the semi-finals and clinch the trophy.

“I think we can go further than the semi-final and have one objective - win the trophy for the first time,” he told the same portal. “When we left our country it was not to go to the semi-final but to the final and to win our first Afcon.

“We continue to work hard, to play with talent but also humility, respecting all our opponents. Senegal is increasing its level match after match and that is important because the first game people were saying we were not scoring many goals, but today we scored three goals.”

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Apart from reaching the 2019 final, Senegal also reached the final in 2002 in Mali when they lost on penalties to Cameroon.

Senegal will face Burkina Faso in the last four at Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium on Wednesday.

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