Former Nigerian captain Austin Okocha believes despite advancing from World Cup group, Senegal are still missing the talismanic influence of Sadio Mane.
Mane was forced to miss the World Cup due to injury, and in his absence Ismaila Sar has became the new leader upfront.
The Watford striker scored an important penalty in the 2-0 win over Ecuador in their final Group game on Tuesday.
Speaking just before Aliou Cisse’s side beat Ecuador, Okocha had insisted that Watford’s Ismaïla Sarr wasn’t in same class with Mane, nor was he capable of replacing the injured forward.
“Ismaïla Sarr has done well so far for this national team of Senegal but to be honest he’s not Mane.”
“Those are the kind of players that are difficult to replace because their presence alone does create a lot of chaos in opponents defence.”
Okocha however believes Aliou Cissé has managed the absence of Mane very well.
“One good thing that this Senegalese team has got right from years back is heart. They are fearless and they believe they can beat anybody,” Okocha said.
“Also the character of their manager has been passed on to this team. I managed to play with him, he wasn’t the most brilliant player but he had heart.
“You can see from this Senegalese team that what they have going for them now is team spirit because they are missing crucial individual players like Mane who finished second in the Ballon d’Or.”
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