Devout Muslim player Sadio Mane and his colleagues led Senegal to Africa Cup of Nations championship on Sunday, defeating Egypt in an epic final.
The game that ended in a penalty shootout came as a thrilling conclusion to the 33rd edition of the biennial continental competition, as the Teranga Lions clinched their first-ever African title.
After a 0-0 draw for 120 minutes, Mane – who had missed a penalty in the opening minutes of the game – was the hero, blasting in the winning spot kick in the shootout.
The victorious Liverpool star was lauded after the game for inspiring his country to glory. He was named the best player in the tournament.
The AFCON trophy adds to what is already an incredible career for Mane, having won the Premier League, Champions League, and Club World Cup for Liverpool.
Senegal’s first title was a hard win over Egypt which has won the Africa Cup of Nations for seven times, i.e. more times than any other country.
After the win, Mane showed a classy touch as he embraced his Liverpool team-mate Mohamed Salah.
The Egyptian was visibly emotional after Senegal’s victory was confirmed and Mane was quick to realize, giving his club colleague a hug and offering his sympathy.
Senegal’s captain Kalidou Koulibaly was also seen condoling Egypt’s defender Mohammad Abdul-Monem after missing a penalty shoot.
Role Model Mane
The Liverpool FC striker has never been one who seems to seek the limelight, especially off the field. Yet, he is one of the biggest stars in his native Senegal, beloved both for his play on the field as well as for his philanthropy off of it.
In 2020, the world-class footballer made a donation worth 30 million CFA francs (£41,000) to aid the battle against coronavirus in Senegal.
In 2019, Mané donated close to $350,000 (£250,000) to build a school in Bambali. Mané has also delivered a hospital and a mosque to his people as a give-back initiative.