AFCON Final 2021 saw a breed of Senegal’s best talent ever in the history of the country, Aliou Cissé did not just lead the Golden Generation to a struck of gold, he also became the first manager to do so.
Success may take a while to arrive, but it can never be disputed if you are consistent.
Aliou Cissé: Man with a vision
- In 2002, he led the team to their first-ever AFCON final.
- No African team has progressed higher since being captained to the World Cup quarterfinals in 2002.
- In 2019, they were coached to their second AFCON final.
- In 2022, they were coached to their first-ever AFCON title.
Who Is Aliou Cissé?
Cissé was born in 1976 in Ziguinchor, Casamance, the same location from which Senegal’s best player, Sadio Mané, hails.
He began his football career in Senegal and later migrated to France and England.
He is also the World Cup’s youngest manager, at 42 years old.
Cissé is a natural leader, according to Kara Thioune, a Senegalese journalist accompanying the Senegal national team in Russia.
Cissé’s ascension was also natural.
He began his coaching career as an assistant coach with the Senegalese Under-23 squad in 2012, before becoming the substantive coach in 2013.
He became the national team’s head coach in 2015.
Senegal just missed qualifying for the final 16 of the 2018 World Cup, falling 1-0 to Colombia.
Despite earning a creditable four points in their first two matches, they were eliminated because they had received two more yellow cards than Japan.
Senegal is looking to finally fulfill their promise at this year’s African football extravaganza in Cameroon, where they were perennially projected to win the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) before finishing near the finish line in 2019.
The enormous expectations of Senegalese fans are putting a lot of pressure on the manager, Aliou Cissé, who was a member of the 2002 World Cup team.
Senegalese fans had every reason to believe Senegal would win the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt in 2019. With a ferocious presence up front in the form of Liverpool winger Sadio Mané, Napoli defensive rock Kalidou Koulibaly, and mighty goalkeeper Édouard Mendy, Senegalese fans had every reason to believe Senegal would win the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt in 2019.
It was not meant to be. Senegal was denied the title they had sought for so long after Algeria defeated them 1-0 in the final.
Senegal had previously had to make do with AFCON silver medals, having lost on penalties to Cameroon in the 2002 final after a goalless draw.
Nonetheless, they attracted the attention of the footballing world later that year with an incredible run of form at the World Cup in Japan and South Korea. The Teranga Lions stunned the world by defeating World Cup holders France – the formidable Bleus of Thierry Henry and Patrick Viera – in the group stage.
Senegal advanced to the quarter-finals with a thrilling extra-time win against Sweden, but were eliminated in a 1-0 extra-time loss to Turkey.
Aliou Was Under Massive Pressure
Senegal has grown stronger under Cissé’s leadership. The Teranga Lions were eliminated in the quarter-finals of CAN-2017, but it was against the unstoppable juggernaut Cameroon, who went on to win the tournament.
Senegal’s exit from the 2018 World Cup group stage appears to be a disappointment on paper. The Teranga Lions, on the other hand, were tied for second place with Japan, with the same number of points (4), goal difference (0), goals scored (4), and goals conceded (4).
Because Senegal and Japan were evenly matched on all of these parameters, the team with the most yellow cards was forced to leave — the Teranga Lions, unfortunately.
Senegal’s record at CAN-2019 was damaged only by their first and last matches, both losses to their Algerian foe.
Cissé led Senegal to the final of the Africa Cup of Nations, but the country’s fans want more. Not only do they want to win, but they also want to play in a more aesthetically beautiful manner, especially following a string of 1-0 triumphs to start their CAN-2019 campaign.
Diallo stated, “The supporters want Senegal to play a great game.” “They put the ball in the air too often; many believe it’s the only way to win in Africa – yet Belmadi’s Algeria prove that aesthetically pleasing football can win games.”
Cissé’s raw numbers speak for themselves: 40 victories, 14 ties, and 8 losses in 62 games. Furthermore, throughout his tenure, Senegal has risen up the FIFA rankings, rising to 20th place as the highest-ranked African team.