Sadio Mane’s legacy is edging ahead of Anfield team-mate Mo Salah’s in their respective countries, a CAF (Confederation of African Football) journalist believes.
The two get set to battle it out again for a World Cup spot, with Mane was instrumental in helping Senegal secure their first ever African Cup of Nations title in February.
Egypt and Senegal will meet in a two-legged final play-off in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
CAF journalist Michael Deveerson told Merseysportlive: “Mane has brought honour to the entire country of Senegal at the moment.
“He is slightly ahead in terms of legacy, but Egyptians really love Salah even though they lost AFCON.
“This is the time he needs to show more.”
Salah’s point to prove
Salah will be hoping to get one over on his team-mate after the agonising defeat in the AFCON final.
The defeat was Egypt’s second final loss in the last three tournaments.
Salah had a respectable tournament, scoring twice and one assist in the run up to the final.
However, the Egyptian captain’s impact was limited in the final.
And the shootout was lost before he got the chance to take a penalty.
Mane had an excellent AFCON, picking up the Player of the Tournament award having recorded three goals and two assists in his seven matches.
He recovered from missing a penalty in normal time of the final to score the decisive spot kick in the shootout that gave Senegal their first ever AFCON victory.
All eyes on the World Cup
Less than two months after meeting in the final, the two are set to do battle once again.
Egypt will get the opportunity to heal the wounds of that agonising defeat quicker than expected.
Both sides topped their qualifying group and will fight it out for one of the five Africa slots for the World Cup in Qatar.
“Salah and Mane are great players who on a normal day deserve to be at the World Cup but due to the slots available to CAF this is where we are now,” Deveerson added.
Qualification for the World Cup would be a huge moment for both nations.
Senegal have reached the World Cup finals just twice before, in 2002 and 2018.
Egypt have qualified on three occasions, in 1934, 1990 and 2018.
The two-legged tie kicks off at the Cairo International Stadium on Friday night.
The return leg will be held at Senegal’s Stade Me Abdoulaye Wade.
This enthralling battle between two world-class footballers will enter a new chapter to decide their World Cup fate.
The prolific Liverpool duo must put club loyalty aside to strive for success with their home nations once again.
(Featured image courtesy of Werner100359 – under Creative Commons Licence)