Saido Mane, Senegal’s talisman
* Star Sadio Mane ruled out of World Cup due to last minute injury
* Tunisia in Group D with France, Australia and Denmark
* Morocco in Group F with Belgium, Canada and Croatia
* Cameroon in Group G with Brazil, Serbia and Switzerland
* Ghana in Group H with Portugal, Uruguay and South Korea
By Duncan Mlanjira
Hosts Qatar — who lost 0-2 to South Americans, Ecuador, next meet reigning African champions Senegal on Friday, November 25 as Ecuador shall meet the Netherlands.
However, Senegal — who face Netherlands tonight — have been dealt a big blow following an injury of talisman Sadio Mane, which has ruled him out of the whole tournament.
Mane posted on Instagram giving confidence to the team and fans that “the Lions will transcend and approach every game as a true finale” and that he was “also convinced that all Senegalese will be in front of the small screen to support and encourage our valiant national team”.
“Like all fans, I am convinced that my teammates will fight as one man and as they are used to doing in order to honour our dear Senegal.”
In the opening match, Ecuador scored in the 3rd minute through Enner Valencia but was ruled out offside after a video assistant referee (VAR) check, but went on to frustrate Qatar — playing in their first-ever FIFA World Cup finals being the hosts.
Pundits on international media bills tonight’s match as a tough fixture for both with Al Jazeera saying it “likely represent the greatest challenge in Group A for both.
The other African representatives in Qatar are Tunisia in Group D with France, Australia and Denmark; Morocco in Group F with Belgium, Canada and Croatia; Cameroon in Group G with Brazil, Serbia and Switzerland while Ghana are in Group H alongside Portugal, Uruguay and South Korea.
Meanwhile, Al Jazeera reports that the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) choosing not to air the Qatar World Cup 2022 opening ceremony on its main coverage programme.
The UK’s public service broadcaster has since been criticised for the decision to ignore the inclusivity-themed spectacular from the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor.
“When Russia hosted the World Cup in 2018, it had already annexed Crimea and occupied eastern Ukraine,” reports Al Jazeera. “At the time there was zero criticism of it from the BBC and the opening ceremony was shown in full. Yet the BBC chose today to sanctimoniously lecture to us. Disgraceful.”
Al Jazeera further said one of top Hollywood movie stars, Morgan Freeman appeared in the stadium to shake hands with a FIFA World Cup ambassador “suffering from a rare spinal disorder in an image meant to represent inclusion in a country that has been facing criticism over its human rights record”.
U.S.A.’s Cable News Network (CNN) CNN — also reports that a British comedian appeared to shred £10,000 ($11,000) in a video after failing to receive a response from David Beckham over his “controversial role as a Qatar World Cup ambassador.
The report said Joe Lycett began tweeting on Sunday as an hourly countdown and at 12:00hrs GMT, he posted a video of himself shredding the money on www.benderslikebeckham.com, a website Lycett had been tweeting links to.
He later posted it on his social media accounts with the caption “a platform for progress,” likely a reference to a statement made by the soccer star in a pre-recorded message at Qatar’s Supreme Committee’s Generation Amazing youth festival in Doha, where he used those words to describe this year’s World Cup.
The report further said on November 13, Lycett, who describes himself as queer (gay) on his website, posted a video on Twitter, saying he would donate £10,000 to charities supporting “queer people in football” or put the money through the shredder, along with “Beckham’s reputation as a gay icon,” if the former England captain did not cut ties with Qatar within the week.
Homosexuality in Qatar is illegal and punishable by up to three years in prison.