Coach ALIOU CISSE bask in the glory of Senegal’s victory

Coach ALIOU CISSE bask in the  glory of Senegal’s victory

Rosie Awori (LJI)

The echoes of rejoicing across Africa can be heard vibrating across the world.
Aliou Cissé realized the dream of Senegalese by winning the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
With the country’s, green, yellow and red flag draped across his shoulders the coach wept in front of the stadium of jubilant supporters as Senegal took their first AFCON trophy on February 6, beating Egypt on penalties (0-0; 4-2).
A victory to which Aliou Cissé, coach of the team since 2015, has earned a lot of the credit.
This year’s AFCON comprised of Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Equatorial Guinea, Egypt, Cape Verde, Morocco, Malawi, Gambia, Guinea, Cameroon Comoros, Tunisia, Gabon, Nigeria and Senegal.
Cameroon, the hosts, defeated Burkina Faso for third place.
The quarter finals saw Cameroon beat Gambia 2-0 and Burkina beat Tunisia 1-0. While Egypt beat Morocco 2-1 and Senegal beat Equatorial 2-0.
It is a sweet victory for Senegal as 20 years ago, Aliou Cisse, missed the decisive kick in the penalty shootout and Cameroon won their second consecutive AFCON trophy in Mali.
This time Sadio Mane scored the winning penalty kick and the crowd went wild. Egypt’s Mohamed Salah was left in tears, as he and his Egypt teammates just came up short after battling to get to penalty kicks for the third time in the knockout rounds as all four of their games in the latter stages of the tournament went to extra time.
The win was crucial for Cissé, coach of the Lions de la Téranga since 2015, as lately he was being lambasted on social networks by the countless fans.
He was criticized for his tactical choices, the defensive play of the team and his inability to make the best of stars like Sadio Mané.
“If we do not win the CAN, it would be more respectful for Aliou Cissé to leave,” a fan warned a month ago.
“African Champion! It was long, it was difficult, but we never gave up. We dedicate this victory to the Senegalese people. Since independence, we have been chasing behind. Now on our jersey, we have a star too,” Cissé commented at press conference after the match.
“I dedicate this trophy to Aliou. You can’t know what he brought to Senegal’s team,” Liverpool star Sadio Mané is quoted as saying.
Born in Senegal’s southwestern town of Ziguinchor on March 24, 1976, Cisse’s family moved to France when he was nine. They lived in a Paris suburb called Champigny-sur-Marne.
Cissé joined the Lille training center as a teenager. He remained for several years in the Northern Club before joining the Ardennes and the Sedan club for two seasons. But he will reach its peak at Paris-Saint-Germain.
He was the vice-captain of France in 2000. That same year, he was a finalist in the League Cup with his club, Montpellier.
His childhood dream of playing for Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) became a reality when he became a featured player for the Parisians between 1998 and 2002.
He also wore the colours of two English teams , Birmingham City and Portsmouth, playing as a defensive midfielder and occasionally as a centre back.
Unlike his days with the Teranga Lions, his club career never caught the limelight. He retired in 2009.
Since taking charge of the national team, Cisse, managed to qualify Senegal for the three AFCON championships in 2017 (quarter-finals), 2019 (final) and 2021 (victory), and the World Cup in 2018.
Senegals’s President Macky Sall, who had declared a national public holiday hours after the win, had earlier praised the team for bringing pride to the nation.
“African champions. What a game! What a team! You did it. Beautiful moment of football, beautiful moment of communion and national pride. Congratulations to our heroes,” he tweeted after the win.