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 got their campaign off the ground against Tanzania on Sunday, dominating and beaten them 2-0 without their talisman – 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.”

Personal tragedy

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.

Born on 24 March, 1976, Cissé 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.

Cisse’s celebrations

Senegal were the darlings of the 2018 World Cup. And Cisse’s celebrations were next level.

Source: Alexis Haden

www.sports24ghana.com

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