group, player, coach, date… all about the team

Calendar (French time) in group A

November 21: Senegal – Netherlands, at the Al-Thumama stadium (5 p.m., BeIN Sports 1)

November 25: Senegal-Qatar, at the Al-Thumama stadium (2 p.m., BeIN Sports 1)

November 29: Senegal-Ecuador, at the Khalifa International Stadium (4 p.m., BeIN Sports 2)

Their nickname: Teranga Lions. This word designates, in Wolof, “hospitality”. The solid defender Kalidou Koulibaly the image nicely: ” Teranga is the land of welcome. It’s the Teranga spirit, you have to feel like you’re in your family, in your home. » A nickname which came from foreign commentators and which hardly suits some Senegalese, who prefer to shorten it to the Lions. Senegalese star Sadio Mané explained it in 2019: “I want to be a Teranga Lion in everyday life, but not on the pitch. »

The group of 26:

Goalkeepers: Edouard Mendy, Alfred Gomis, Seny Dieng.

Defenders: Kalidou Koulibaly, Abdou Diallo, Youssouf Sabaly, Fode Ballo-Toure, Pape Abou Cissé, Ismail Jakobs, Formose Mendy.

Midfielders: Idrissa Gana Gueye, Cheikou Kouyaté, Nampalys Mendy, Krepin Diatta, Pape Gueye, Pape Matar Sarr, Pathe Ciss, Moustapha Name, Loum Ndiaye.

Forwards: Ismaïla Sarr, Boulaye Dia, Bamba Dieng, Famara Diedhiou, Nicolas Jackson, Iliman Ndiaye.

Better Qatar than ever. Third participation for the Senegalese, who beat France for the first match in their history in the World Cup in 2002 before reaching the quarter-finals. In 2018, it was less successful with an elimination in the first round.

The selector. Aliou Cisse, 46 years. Captain during the 2002 epic, this talented former midfielder has been in charge of the selection since 2015. He represents this generation of African coaches who finally have a chance to lead their national teams. Unhappy 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finalist, Cissé led the Lions to the title in 2022. After eliminating Egypt in a double electric barrage, he has no shortage of ambitions: “At first, we [les Africains] went there [à la Coupe du monde] to discover, then to learn, and finally to exist. Now we are going to win. »

Aliou Cissé waves the flag of Senegal after the victory at CAN 2022.

Summary note from the cabinet Le Monde

The strong points. Senegal can practically count on one star per line. Edouard Mendy has been voted best goalkeeper of the year in 2021 by FIFA. He was European champion with Chelsea and was decisive on penalties to offer his country the first African Cup of Nations (CAN) in its history at the start of the year. In defense, the rock Kalidou Koulibaly spent eight years in Naples (voted best defender in Serie A in 2017, 2018 and 2019) before joining Chelsea this season. In attack, the Senegalese could have counted on one of the best offensive players in the world, Sadio Mané. Nothing will happen.

The weak spots. One star per line but one of them, Sadio Mané, so essential in the team, is finally forfeited due to an Achilles tendon injury. He is even going to undergo surgery. Another weakness, the lack of World Cup experience? Senegal will only play their third World Cup and, in 2018, they were beaten twice to draw, despite the presence of Koulibaly and Mané. If he gained serenity with his victory at CAN 2022, coach Aliou Cissé has long suffered criticism in the country because of his choices and a style deemed defensive. The atmosphere around the Lions is sometimes heavy even if it can also sometimes sublimate them.

The rating of the firm (out of 5): 3. Despite the absence of Mané, the Senegalese have the means to cross the group stage for the second time. Behind the Dutch favourite, they start ahead of the Ecuadorians and the Qataris. If Senegal can believe in a second quarter-final, being the first African team to reach the semi-finals will not be easy.

Keep an eye on him

Bamba Dieng, 22, could have missed the biggest meeting of his young career. Sidelined at OM, the young striker had to fight to rejoin the pro group. In September, his coach, Aliou Cissé, warned him: “If Bamba is at OM, it’s because he has the qualities. We won’t give him any gifts. It was important to summon him to show him that we trust him. But it is up to him to fight to change his situation. » At AFCON 2022, he scored in the round of 16 and semi-finals, also scoring the fourth shot on goal in the final.

Imagine Arsene…

that the Senegalese have not always played with a white jersey. Before, the selection evolved with green, red or yellow jerseys, the colors of the national flag. But in 1985, when the Lions had been hoping for qualification for the CAN for seventeen years, they changed their tunic between two games against Zimbabwe. According to a Senegalese reporter interviewed by the media Sport News Africa, it is the personal marabout of a minister who would have decreed this chromatic change. Result: Senegal crushes its opponent 3-0 thanks to a hat-trick from Jules Bocandé and adopts a new official uniform.


If you have decided to boycott…

You may be lucky enough to be amazed by the splendid Lac Rose, or Lac Rëtba for the Wolofs, northeast of Dakar. It is a microscopic algae that gives it this incredible tint. Otherwise, you can take a leap in time between the work of Léopold Sédar Senghor and that of the young winner of the Prix Goncourt 2021, Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, for his fourth book, The most secret memory of men (Philip Rey).

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