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It’s a Friday, day of prayer. And miracles too. This Might 31, 2002, a rustic and a continent flip to Seoul in South Korea. Shortly earlier than midday (time distinction obliges), Senegal faces within the opening match of the World Cup a dizzying opponent: France. It’s due to this fact tough to think about that such a “small” nation – which is collaborating within the first World Cup in its historical past – can break this tricolor military, defending champion.
France-Senegal is the duel of all imbalances and, nonetheless, the Blues of Thierry Henry and David Trezeguet (Zinédine Zidane, injured in a thigh, is on the bench) will fall from their pedestal. The whole lot adjustments on the 30e minute: El-Hadji Diouf overflows on the left and the middle; Emmanuel Petit tries to clear the leather-based however it bounces off Fabien Barthez who will get misplaced in his exit. In ambush, Papa Bouba Diop, who arrives out of nowhere, slips the ball into the again of the web.
The Senegalese midfielder rushes in the direction of a nook submit, takes off his jersey to position it on the grass and begins to bop round his white tunic together with his teammates. The Senegalese maintain the rating till the ultimate whistle (0-1) and humiliate, in passing, the pure contenders for the ultimate victory. In entrance of the soccer planet, the Lions of Teranga have simply crunched Roosters up to now feared. “After this victory, chickens had been lacking in Senegal, we had eaten all of them”remembers with a burst of laughter Cheikh Fantamady Keïta, journalist for the each day The solar. France misplaced. Africa is dancing and all of Africa will proceed to bop throughout this World Cup.
Pleasure is undamaged
As a result of the feat of the Lions isn’t restricted to beating the world champions: they handle to climb to the quarter-finals. Dealing with Turkey, the Senegalese, skilled by Frenchman Bruno Metsu, held agency; however they’re eradicated due to a golden objective scored firstly of the primary time beyond regulation (0-1). Returning to the nation, the Lions are acclaimed: a staff is born, a legend too.
January 25, 2022. On the garden of Bafoussam in Cameroon, Bamba Dieng, a 21-year-old child, scores his first objective for the Senegalese staff towards Cape Verde within the spherical of 16 of the African Cup of Nations (2-0) . Right here he’s, spinning in the direction of the nook submit and dancing like Papa Bouba Diop (died in November 2020). “I’ve all the time thought that they need to [la génération 2002] pay homage »explains the younger Lion. “This tribute to Pape Bouba Diop is a gesture of union between all generations, that of 2002 and that of as we speak”notes in flip El-Hadji Diouf, who has since develop into a dwelling god in his nation.
This celebration stuffed Aliou Cissé, the coach of Senegal, with pleasure. “It is shifting”, he acknowledges. And that is regular: he was the charismatic captain of the 2002 staff. As we speak, his dreadlocks are longer, the glasses wider and the smile is immutable. “A variety of boys adopted us again then. Some inform me they had been working behind our bus in 2002. As we speak I’ve the possibility to coach them”, he provides. Twenty years after this epic, the pleasure is undamaged.
Nevertheless, as golden as it’s, the 2002 technology “has by no means gained something, recalled Aliou Cissé throughout a press convention on 1er February, on the eve of going through Burkina Faso within the CAN semi-finals (1-3). She knew how one can carry happiness to our folks. » It serves as a landmark and ” reference “ new gamers and training too. “There are fairly a number of members from 2002 who’re on my employees”he specified.
The most effective African staff
When he took over the nationwide staff in March 2015 – after having made his teaching debut with the Olympic choice – he had every part to rebuild: a number of weeks earlier than his appointment, in Equatorial Guinea, the Lions had been launched from the CAN from the primary spherical. He brings again order, self-discipline, promising gamers like Kalidou Koulibaly and twin nationals. He’ll, above all, rely increasingly on the longer term information of the choice: Sadio Mané.
The Senegalese Soccer Federation is changing into extra structured and “develop into skilledattests the journalist Cheikh Fantamady Keïta. Bills corresponding to premiums are paid on time ». The establishment additionally has a staff supervisor (perform of tremendous steward) who carries out prospecting missions and even permits gamers to now not take airliners throughout a visit. “Earlier than, we needed to make connections, we slept in airports”defined Aliou Cissé to the World.
On the finish of 2015, Senegal is 44e within the Worldwide Soccer Federation (FIFA) rating. As we speak, she factors to the 18e place and stays one of the best African staff for a number of years. And that is comprehensible: a CAN quarter-final (in 2017), a misplaced last (in 2019) and at last a primary continental victory firstly of the 12 months.
On the 2018 World Cup (one defeat, one draw, one victory), Senegal was eradicated, ending third in its group behind Japan, which nonetheless had the identical variety of factors. The Teranga Lions are victims of the brand new FIFA laws – honest play – used for the primary time within the World Cup to resolve between two groups: they took two extra yellow playing cards than the Blue Samurais. Merciless.
Sadio Mané injured and forfeited
In Qatar, Senegal – who share their pool with hosts Ecuador and Holland – are taking part of their third World Cup and hope to develop into the primary African nation to progress past the quarter-finals. “There are frequent factors between the technology of 2002 and 2022: aggressiveness, solidarity within the group and the pleasure of taking part in collectively”says Cheikh Fantamady Keïta.
The African champions are feared, however their supreme information, Sadio Mané, was injured and needed to forfeit a number of days earlier than the primary match towards the Netherlands on Monday 21 November. Studying to win with out him is a brand new problem. Anyway, for Aliou Cissé who’s about to expertise his third World Cup (as soon as as a participant and twice as a coach), the ambition is obvious: ” There have been a number of phases within the historical past of African groups within the World Cup. In the beginning, we went there to find, then to study, lastly to exist. Now we’re going to win. The extent hole between South America and Africa has narrowed. There aren’t any extra small groups. We now have the expertise. We’re going to Qatar in all humility, however we should not be disrespected. »