By Brian Homewood
CAIRO (Reuters) – Senegal forward Sadio Mane has said will step aside as his team’s penalty taker for the time being after missing spot kicks in successive games at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Mane, who has scored three goals in the tournament, saw a penalty saved during his team’s 1-0 round of 16 match win over Uganda on Friday, having previously missed in the 3-0 win over Kenya where he also converted one penalty.
“It’s a momentary withdrawal,” he told Senegalese media after the match. “I have missed penalties in both games and must admit that it is not a good ratio.
“I do not want to penalise my team and, at least for the time being, I’m going to stand aside for the penalties and let other team mates get on with it.”
“When I return to my club, I will continue to work hard to improve on this aspect,” added the Liverpool forward.
Earlier, Senegal coach Aliou Cisse said he was happy for Mane to continue as his penalty taker.
“There is confidence in him and that’s why he took this penalty,” he said. “But, this is a discussion that I will have with him.”
Mane, who has scored 19 goals in 63 appearances, is taking part in the finals for the third time and has had a topsy-turvy relationship with the tournament.
He played two matches in 2015 when his side went out in the first round and, two years ago in Gabon, scored two goals but could not prevent a quarter-final elimination against Cameroon, missing the decisive penalty in the shootout.
Senegal, who have never won the competition, face Benin in the semi-finals.
(Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)