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Senegal came into the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations as one of the favourites for the trophy, but they crashed spectacularly, losing all three first round games to end bottom of Group A.
The West Africans suffered a surprise defeat to Zambia in their opening game and then became the first team officially eliminated from the tournament when they succumbed 2-1 at the hands of co-host Equatorial Guinea, conceding a dramatic late pile-driver to Nzalang Nacionals rampaging right-back Kily.
The Lions of Teranga could have at least salvaged some pridein their last match against Libya, but they gave a spineless performance to go down 2-1, again conceding a late goal.
Their much-vaunted forward line failed to fire, with Dame NDoye, Moussa Sow and Deme NDiaye sharing a meagre three goals between them, while the likes of Papiss Cisse, Demba Ba and Mamadou Niang completely misfired.
Senegal qualified for the 12th Africa Cup of Nations of its history, totalling five victories and a draw in the competitions qualifiers.
The new talented generation, free of the weight of the legacy of the 2002 generation which carried the Lions to great heights, can once again begin to dream on the eve of the continental rendezvous in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
Without ever having shone in the Africa Cup of Nations, nor participated in a World Cup final, Senegal proved itself to the entire world under Bruno Metsus direction, reaching the Korean World Cup quarter finals after failing in the ACN 2002 final in Mali, in a penalty shootout against Cameroon.
It was the age of Papa Bouba Diop, Salif Diao, Henri Camara, Khalilou Fadiga and the inevitable El-Hadji Diouf.
Winners against France - then world champions -1-0 in the opening match of the 2002 World Cup, the Lions held Denmark and Uruguay to a draw before beating Sweden 2-1 in the last sixteen, thanks to a brace by Henri Camara.
Senegal were able to leave the competition with their heads held high after being beaten by Turkey 1-0 in the quarter finals.
After a dearth symbolised by their non-qualification in the ACN 2010 and the South African World Cup, the Lions are back with a generation worthy of its glorious predecessor.
The formidable attacking trio of Mamadou Niang-Moussa Sow-Papiss Cissé (13 goals during the qualifiers) head up the team,a team coached by Amara Traoré since December 2010 which inspires fear on the continental scene.
Senegal, whose first official match against Benin (then Dahomey) took place 31 December 1961, is the fifth African country on the FIFA ranking where it occupies 42nd position.
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