Senegal coach Aliou Cissé became a bit of a sensation at the
2018 World Cup.
He was the youngest coach at the tournament… and the only
black coach. Senegal performed admirably over in Russia, despite crashing out in
the group stages.
They’re hot title favourites for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, though. They get their campaign off the ground against Tanzania on Sunday, but will have to do so without Sadio Mane.
The coach has played down The Teranga Lions’ chances at the
2019 Africa Cup of Nations, but he’s likely to grab the headlines again.
Back in 2018, social media loved his celebrations… and his
coaching prowess, of course.
He was even asked about his new-found fame as the tournament’s first ‘sex symbol’. The media (and some thirsty fans on social media) gave him that label during the 2018 jamboree.
When quizzed about it, he laughed it off and simply said:
“Ask the ladies.”
He drew comparisons to superhero Black Panther and was
praised for his cool and his moves.
But Cissé has a serious side, too. When asked how he felt
about being the only black coach at the 2018 World Cup, he said:
“It’s a painful reality that annoys me. I believe that football is universal. I believe that skin colour has little importance in the game.”
Cissé lost several members of his family in the MV Le Joola ferry disaster that occurred off the coast of The Gambia on 26 September 2002. He paid tribute to those who died by playing a charity match for Senegal against Nigeria, raising money for the families. It was reported that more than 1000 people died.
Birmingham City, one of his former clubs, collected money for the victims’ families and honoured Cissé by displaying a giant Senegal flag during a game against Manchester City F.C.
Aliou Cissé: Famous celebrations, impressive career
Born: 24 March 1976
Played for: Paris Saint-Germain, Birmingham City and
Portsmouth (amongst others).
He also played for Senegal. Most notably, Cissé, captained
Senegal on their remarkable journey through the 2002 World Cup in Japan and
South Korea. The Lions of Teranga reached the quarter-finals. He was also part
of the Senegalese team were the
runners-up in the 2002 African Cup of Nations.
Senegal were the darlings of the 2018 World Cup. And Cisse’s
celebrations were next level.
And Senegal are just bags of fun.