Africa Cup of Nations finalist Salif Sané returns to training

The final Royal Blue has returned to pre-season just days before the season opener in the first round of the DFB-Pokal on Saturday away against SV Drochtersen/Assel (10/8, 15:30 CEST). Salif Sané, who reached the final of the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal, finally rejoined the squad on Tuesday (6/8) – partly training with the team and partly on his own.

After a 17-day rest, the centre-back returned to the training pitch fully recharged and rested. He was the last player to return in a pre-season that saw U21 Euro players Jonjoe Kenny, Alexander Nübel, Markus Schubert and Suat Serdar, as well as Gold Cup finalist Weston McKennie all return at a later date too.

I had a lot of pain and I feared that the injury would be a lot worse than it was.

Salif Sané

Sané experienced a number of highs and lows during the Africa Cup of Nations. The 28-year-old went off injured in the opening match against Tanzania. “I had a lot of pain and I feared that the injury would be a lot worse than it was,” he reflected. Sané returned to action in the quarterfinals and semi-finals, however it was his deflection on Baghdad Bounedjah’s shot that won the final 1-0 for Algeria. “I was really unlucky for their goal,” he added. “I still haven’t been able to forget about that moment.”

His disappointment after losing the final was made a lot easier upon arriving back in Senegal. Crowds of people lined the streets to pay tribute to their players after a strong tournament. “It was incredible. I hadn’t expected so many people to come,” said the defender.

Optimistic for the new season

The Africa Cup of Nations is all history now to Sané, who is instead concentrating on the upcoming season with Schalke. He’s also excited to be back: “The first training session was good, but I still need a few more to get back into the swing of things,” he revealed.

Sané is optimistic ahead of the first-round DFB-Pokal tie on Saturday, but just like the rest of the squad, he doesn’t want to set any goals for the Bundesliga season. “We want to have a better season and win more games,” he stated.

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