Senegal were crowned the champions of Africa over the weekend after they beat Egypt in a tense final in Cameroon.

It brought to an end another superb Africa Cup of Nations tournament with the Lions of Teranga finally getting their hands on the continent’s biggest prize.

For that pleasure, they largely have Sadio Mane to thank.


The Liverpool flyer was crowned player of the tournament after the final having showed his class from the first game to the last.

He held his nerve in the opening clash against Zimbabwe with a last-gasp penalty and made crucial contributions throughout.

However, he will have been the most relieved man on the planet as he clung tightly to that trophy on Sunday night having missed a golden chance from the spot in the first half of the final.

In fact, Mohamed Salah may take a lot of credit for the fact that the penalty was saved, having had words with Egypt shot-stopper Gabaski seconds before it was taken.

There is perhaps no one that knows Mane better than Salah having spent years together at Liverpool and so, when Sadio saw Salah having a chat with his ‘keeper he knew exactly what was going on.

Now, Gabaski himself has revealed what was said in the exchange and it actually makes for pretty funny reading.

“Salah told me: Mane would shoot to the right side, he is coming now because he knows what I am saying.’”

Mane then joined the fray, lumping in his own dose of psychological whataboutery.

“Mane said to me: ‘I will shoot on the left,’ then Salah replied ‘Let’s see.’”

Brilliant – in the end it was Salah’s mind games that won out as Gabaski managed to save Mane’s attempt.

Of course, it would count for little in the end as Senegal managed to get the job done but it still makes for a fascinating little exchange between two teammates who fiercely love their respective nations.

They will now return to Merseyside as they look to help Liverpool chase down the high-flying Manchester City.

They also have the small matter of a Carabao Cup final to look forward to at the end of February.


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