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Senegal appoints former player Aliou Cisse as coach

March 5, 2015

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Senegal appointed former midfielder Aliou Cisse as coach on Wednesday, a rare chance for a black African to take charge of one of the continent’s top teams.

The Senegal Football Federation said Cisse, who captained Senegal to the World Cup quarterfinals in 2002, signed a four-year contract. His position will be evaluated in two years following the 2017 African Cup of Nations, federation vice president Abdoulaye Sow said.

Cisse was previously an assistant coach with the national squad and most recently coach of Senegal’s Olympic team.

At 38, he is also young for an international coach. Cisse replaced Alain Giresse, a Frenchman who left after Senegal’s first-round elimination at the African Cup in January.

Only three of the 16 teams at this year’s continental championship had homegrown coaches — South Africa, Zambia and Congo — with most favoring European imports.

In 2013, Stephen Keshi of Nigeria became the first black African coach to win the Cup of Nations in more than 20 years.

Cisse played for clubs in France and England but his best achievement as a player was leading Senegal to the last eight at the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, beating defending world champion France along the way.

Following six years as a player on Senegal’s national team, he has been part of Senegal’s coaching setup since 2012.

Cisse’s life has also been marked by tragedy. Three months after that World Cup success in 2002, several members of his family died in a ferry disaster when a Senegalese vessel capsized and sank off the coast of Gambia killing more than 1,800 people.

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