Who is Aliou Cisse? When did he become Senegal coach and did he play in the Premier League? AFCON-winning boss set to lead his country on the world stage
Aliou Cissé will lead Senegal at the World Cup this winter and is now a legend in his country after guiding them to the Africa Cup of Nations title earlier this year.
The former midfielder didn’t have the most glamorous playing career, but he managed to make Sadio Mane and Kalidou Koulibaly a real unit.
And after winning Senegal their first-ever AFCON title, he now has the chance to lead his country on the world stage, and they have a good chance of progressing through the group stages in Qatar.
And Cissé will lead his team live on talkSPORT2 this afternoon when they take on the Netherlands.
Aliou Cissé: The story so far
The 46-year-old was born in Senegal but his family moved to France when he was nine.
Here he started playing football and was picked up by the Lille academy. But he didn’t stay long with the Ligue 1 side and soon moved to Sedan and then Paris Saint-Germain.
While playing for PSG, the national team began to take notice of him, and he made 33 appearances for his country and also captained the team.
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However, he also played for Birmingham City and Portsmouth when both were in the Premier League.
In total, he made 59 top-flight appearances over a four-year spell in England.
But while in the UK, he lost 11 loved ones in a ferry that sank between Gambia and Senegal.
According to Karren Brady, he didn’t tell anyone for days and just went about his business and kept training and working hard.
Obviously, that mental toughness helped him as a manager, and he went from assistant manager of Senegal to the man who won them the AFCON title.
Cissé first became involved in the international setup in 2012 – three years after retiring from football.
He was both Joseph Koto’s and Alain Giresse’s assistant until March 2015.
Giresse was sacked after failing AFCON and Cissé was appointed in his place despite never having been first-team manager.
But the appointment couldn’t have gone better, considering he guided Senegal to two World Cups and won them silverware.
Yes, Senegal have great players, but they’ve had similar players in the past and haven’t lived up to their potential, so Cissé deserves a lot of credit for his work.
But he will be without Mane for the opener against the Netherlands, so he will need someone to step in.
However, the Teranga Lions are now a real team and they are still expected to be at least part of the squad.
It will certainly be a proud moment for Cisse as he once again leads his country on the world stage, where they can prove to everyone how good they are with or without Mane.
Watch the World Cup with talkSPORT
At talkSPORT, we’re powered by fans, so come join us for the ultimate World Cup fan experience this winter – at the talkSPORT fan zone.
In a huge covered room under the arches of Waterloo in London, we will bring you live screenings of every World Cup game.
There will be Q&A with talkSPORT talent, you’ll be part of our live shows and plenty of food and drink will be on offer too.
Come and have the best World Cup fan experience in London – and enjoy a free pint – with tickets for all matches on sale HERE!