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Sadio Mane set to join a growing list of players missing a farcical World Cup

Bayern Munich and Senegal talisman Mane was forced off after 20 minutes of Bayern Munich’s 6-1 win over Werder Bremen on Tuesday night.

Liverpool great Sadio mane says he has left Anfield for a new football challenge at Bayern Munich with a £35.1 million transfer deal. Photo: Sportsfile© AP

Kevin PalmerSunday World

Sadio Mane is set to become the latest big-name star to miss the upcoming World Cup, as the shameful folly of stages the tournament mid-way through the European club season continues to be exposed.

Bayern Munich and Senegal talisman Mane was forced off after 20 minutes of Bayern Munich’s 6-1 win over Werder Bremen on Tuesday night and reports now suggest his injury will end his hopes of appearing at Qatar 2022.

Senegal begin their World Cup campaign against the Netherlands on November 21 and also face hosts Qatar and Ecuador in Group A, with Mane set to join a high profile list of players missing FIFA’s tarnished showpiece event.

France midfielders Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, Germany’s Timo Werner and Liverpool’s Portugal forward Diogo Jota have also been ruled out of this ill-conceived World Cup.

Meanwhile, Tottenham’s Son Heung-min is also in a race against time to play for South Korea as he sustained an eye injury in the Champions League game in Marseille on Tuesday night, while France’s Raphael Varane was in tears as he left the field for Manchester United with an injury last month.

The positioning of this tournament has ensured that t any player who picks up an injury in the final round of club matches this week will almost certainly miss the World Cup and this shouldn’t be their fate.

The end of the club season traditionally comes a month before the World Cup, giving players who picked up injuries in April or even May a chance to recover.

Yet FIFA have agreed to shoehorn their prized event into a month of the season where it simply doesn’t fit and in doing so, they have ensured the exciting build-up to the World Cup has been erased.

With the focus still on the Champions League and domestic competitions, the tantalising countdown to a month of international football has been lacking this time, with TV adverts and marketing campaigns slow to start.

On top of it all, major companies are reluctant to throw their weight behind a tournament being staged in a country boasting a horrendous human rights record.

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It is a mess that should never have got this far and Jamie Carragher summed up the mood of many with his condemnation of Qatar 2022.

“It’s an absolute disgrace that the World Cup is in the position that it’s in,” Carragher told CBS Sports.

“I think that it was corrupt that Qatar were given the World Cup, and we knew at the time when they campaigned on having it in the summer, it was impossible to have a World Cup in the summer due to the temperature.

“Players all around Europe and the world could get injured... a ten-day injury is going to keep players out of the World Cup, which should not be happening.

“There is no build-up to the tournament, no real excitement for it and this is the World Cup. It should be like this.

“It’s just madness that they’ve got the competition in the first place. It’s a disgrace.”

How can anyone disagree with Carragher’s sentiments?

Yet for the players caught in the middle of the storm, they have to hope that fortune is on their side as they play two final games for their clubs before a rush to Qatar.

If FIFA want us to believe their World Cup is the pinnacle of the sport, they need to ensure a farce of this nature is never allowed to happen again.

No one objects to the idea of the tournament being taken around the world to spread the message of the game, but the stench of corruption over how Qatar landed their prize and the chaos the decision has created means this year’s fiasco in the desert is likely to tarnish the sport rather than enhance it.

The players who may only get one or two chances to play in one or two World Cup in their careers are the big losers here, as well as the watching world who will be denied the chance to see the game’s finest do battle for the biggest prize of them all.


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