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Senegal goals of breaking the glass ceiling of African groups

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In 2002, Senegal participated for the primary time in its historical past within the World Cup. An version organized in Korea and Japan the place the Lions had stunned the entire world by beating the French world champions within the opening match and ending their historic journey within the quarter-finals. Twenty years later, Senegal goals to develop into the primary African workforce to achieve the final 4 of a World Cup.

February 2022. For the primary time in its historical past, the Senegal soccer workforce lifts a trophy by profitable the Africa Cup of Nations. A efficiency which made an entire individuals proud however which isn’t but comparable within the hearts of many Senegalese to what’s known as within the native media universe: “the epic of 2002”. The World Cup in Qatar, which begins Monday November 21 for the Lions of Teranga, can enable this technology to alter that.

The journey of 2002, Amdy Faye lived it intensely. This “field to field” midfielder, that’s to say efficient in each surfaces, in response to the soccer jargon from English, was one of many 23 gamers of this Senegal who achieved in 2002 one of the best efficiency of an African workforce within the World Cup (tied with Nigeria in 1990 and Ghana in 2010).

Senegal jerseys are offered to passers-by on Avenue Georges Pompidou in downtown Dakar
Senegal jerseys are supplied to passers-by on Avenue Georges Pompidou in downtown Dakar © Elimane Ndao, France 24

“Senegal is world champion”

“We have been certain of ourselves,” he remembers, within the foyer of a big resort in downtown Dakar. “We performed in the identical golf equipment because the French gamers on the time. I bear in mind the day of the draw effectively. I used to be with Djibrill Cissé, my teammate at AJ Auxerre [attaquant de l’équipe de France en 2002, NLDR]. When Senegal fell into the group of France, he made enjoyable of me by telling me that we have been going to be extras on the World Cup. On arrival, we beat them effectively” he concludes, bursting out laughing.

A victory towards “the colonizing nation” he specifies sarcastically, which had been celebrated in an indescribable euphoria within the streets of Dakar. President Abdoulaye Wade had even declared throughout a parade within the streets of the capital and in entrance of an enthusiastic and jubilant crowd: “At present by beating the workforce which is world champion, Senegal is world champion”.

>> To learn additionally: Dakar Sacré-Coeur: “Senegal has extraordinary sporting potential”

Twenty years later, on sandy floor within the Nord Foire district of Dakar, close to the Voie de Dégagement Nord, one of the vital strategic roads within the metropolis, we see that the Senegalese ardour for soccer remains to be perennial. Younger individuals play “calcio”, the Italian time period utilized in Senegal to designate these soccer matches between associates earlier than nightfall. Sitting on a tire on the fringe of the enjoying floor, Idrissa watches his associates play whereas giving them directions infrequently, like a coach: “Preserve calm. He has his again to the sport. Do not make a mistake”. Regardless of the consecration of Senegal for the primary time in a global competitors over the last CAN, he retains deeper reminiscences of the feat achieved by the 2002 technology. He was 11 years previous through the Asian World Cup.

“I used to be like loopy on the night of February 6 after Sadio Mané’s penalty which allowed Senegal to win the CAN. I toured the town in a tank prime and celebrated our victory till the tip of the evening. However I admit that when it comes to feelings, the 2002 World Cup was even stronger even when we have been eradicated within the quarter-finals, “he explains.

Preserve your ft on the bottom

The white jersey with inexperienced and pink sleeves from 2002 has develop into so legendary that additionally it is frequent to see the Senegalese sporting it extra within the streets of the capital than current jerseys. This tunic, Mouhamed Ghandour jealously guards one in his pharmacy, situated in Plateau, within the coronary heart of downtown Dakar. This pharmacist has carved out a spot for himself in Senegalese soccer by rubbing shoulders with and forging ties of friendship with generations of Senegalese footballers from 1986 to 2002. In 2017, he co-leads as assistant coach of the Senegalese workforce on the 7-a-side or mini-football World Cup. He’s now one of the vital distinguished soccer consultants on RTS1, the nationwide channel. He additionally analyzes African soccer on BBC Africa.

A part of
A part of “calcio” on land in Nord Foire, a residential district of Dakar © Elimane Ndao, France 24

“I used to be a privileged spectator of the exploits of the 2002 technology. The gamers of this workforce are good associates. Generally it’s stated that the groups which can be remembered aren’t the profitable groups however the ones that present feelings. I love the 2022 workforce. It introduced tears to my eyes as a result of I had been ready for this AFCON since 1986. However the workforce that moved me probably the most emotionally was the 2002 workforce”.

Mouhamed Ghandour in his office.
Mouhamed Ghandour in his workplace. © Elimane Ndao, France 24

Ghandour is nostalgic however believes the brand new technology has totally different qualities from the previous. They may very well be decisive for this World Cup in Qatar. Regardless of workforce star Sadio Mané being out via harm, he believes Senegal nonetheless have an opportunity to achieve the semi-finals.

“The present workforce is way more mature tactically and way more skilled. She is supervised by a coach, Aliou Cissé, who remained within the place for a number of years and who knew how one can instil within the gamers the spirit of profitable and the niaque. On the psychological stage, the gamers do not surrender and we have now seen it just lately with victories obtained within the final minutes”, analyzes the pharmacist-consultant.

Assets that may very well be helpful if Senegal intends to go far within the competitors in Qatar.

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