Senegal coach Aliou Cissé celebrates as Senegal win the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Afcon Finals Final match between Senegal and Egypt held at Olembe Stadium in Yaounde, Cameroon on 06 February 2022 ©Shaun Roy/BackpagePix
Monday Feb 07, 2022. 15:35
Senegal head coach Aliou Cisse admitted to a ‘long, difficult and complicated’ Africa Cup of Nations campaign which ended their 60-year wait for the title.
The Lions of Teranga beat Egypt 4-2 on penalties in the final on Sunday after a gruelling 120 minutes produced no goals at the Olembe Stadium.
After Edouard Mendy had saved Mohanad Lasheen’s attempt, Sadio Mane converted the decisive spot-kick to make amends for his earlier miss from 12 yards out during the first half.
Cisse’s side qualified for the knockout stages after winning just one of their three group games, but went undefeated throughout the tournament to be crowned African champions for the first time.
The West Africans had finished runners-up in 2002 and 2019, with Cisse having featured in their first-ever final appearance and missed a penalty in the shootout against Cameroon.
The 45-year-old dedicated the triumph to his people back home and acknowledged the feeling was extra special after beating the seven-time champions.
“I am African champion. It was long, it was difficult, sometimes complicated, but we never gave up,” he said in the post-match press conference.
“I dedicate this victory to the Senegalese people. For years, we have been chasing this cup. Today we will be able to put a star on our jersey.
“Winning the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon has a special meaning. Winning against the most successful team in Africa is another symbol.”