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Saturday,October 31,2020 09:53 AM

Lions of ‘Teranga’ waiting to pounce

By Vision Reporter

Added 12th March 2002 03:00 AM

Senegal upset the formbook when they qualified from an African group containing Morocco, Egypt and Algeria.

Senegal upset the formbook when they qualified from an African group containing Morocco, Egypt and Algeria.

Group A France Senegal Uruguay Denmark Senegal upset the formbook when they qualified from an African group containing Morocco, Egypt and Algeria. Credited with much of the success is French-born coach Bruno Metsu, who took over the coaching reigns in October from popular German Peter Schnittger. Metsu, 47, looks back on an unspectacular playing career with teams including Nice, Anderlecht and Valenciennes, followed by coaching stints with Beauvais, Lille and Sedan. He then moved to Africa, where he had a short stint as coach of the Guinean national team, before taking over Senegal. While Metsu directs proceedings from the outside, Elhadji Diouf is certainly the man to look out for on the field. Diouf, popularly known as “The serial killer” played an important role in the African Nations Cup in Mali– notably in their 2-1 semifinal win against favourites Nigeria. The striker, who started playing in France as a 17-year old prodigy in 1998, scored back-to-back hat-tricks during his side's 4-0 win against Namibia and 3-0 victory against Algeria. Like fellow internationals Ferdinand Coly and Pape Saar, Diouf plays for Lens. Arguably the most important strike of his career was the goal he scored in Senegal's 1-0 victory over Morocco in a match that the North Africans only needed to draw to be guaranteed first place in the group and a place at the finals in Japan and Korea. The speedy striker scored his eighth goal of Senegal's qualifying campaign during the West African's 5-0 drubbing of Namibia – a result that secured them a first-ever appearance at the World Cup finals. Metsu can call on a number of other forwards who have shown they are more than capable of competing at the highest level, including Sedan's Henri Camara, 24, Grasshoppers' Papa Diop, 23, and Lausanne's Pape Thiaw, 20. Qualifying for the finals caused scenes of wild celebrations. President Abdoulaye Wade rewarded the players for their efforts - something the Lions of Teranga can also expect if they do well at the finals in South Korea and Japan. Since qualifying for the finals, the country has embarked on an ambitious programme. Friendly matches against both hosts provided two good wins (1-0 in Korea and 2-0 against Japan). But Metsu will need to pull another major surprise out of his hat if he wants to take the team into the second round. Against France, Denmark and Uruguay this summer, Senegal will once again be the rank outsiders. However, their presence at the showpiece of world football shows they can live quite comfortably with the role of underdogs just waiting to cause a second major upset. dpa ends

Lions of ‘Teranga’ waiting to pounce

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