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Senegal coach Aliou Cisse: Former Premier League player leads African champions vs England at World Cup

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Senegal clinched their first major title in 2021, as the Lions of Teranga dramatically edged out Egypt in the Africa Cup of Nations final in Yaounde.

Their success on a continental level raised expectations ahead of the 2022 World Cup, with head coach Aliou Cisse now looking to secure a path through the knockout stages.

Cisse’s plans suffered a major blow ahead of travelling to Qatar, with star man Sadio Mane ruled out through injury. But despite the added setback of losing their opening game against the Netherlands, Cisse and his players have responded superbly, and they sealed a Round of 16 place against England in Al Khor.

Here we take a closer look at the man leading the Africans’ charge in Qatar.

MORE: Have England ever played Senegal? History of Three Lions vs African teams

Who is Senegal coach Aliou Cisse?

A versatile former player, after retiring from professional football in 2009, Cisse joinied the Senegal national team setup three years later as part of their Under-23 team coaching staff.

The Senegal FA came calling again following their decision to sack Cisse’s former international teammate Amara Traore from the senior team, promoting Cisse and Karim Sega Diouf as joint interim bosses.

Cisse continued to balance that job with the task of leading the Senegal U23 team, until formally taking over as Senegal senior team boss in 2015.

The former midfielder led his team to the 2018 World Cup, where they were eliminated in the group stages, and a Round of 16 spot in 2022 has seen him break new ground as a coach.

Did Aliou Cisse play in the Premier League?

At international level, Cisse’s most iconic moment came as captain of the Senegal side who made their World Cup debut in 2002, with a sensational win over defending champions France.

However, his club career was more low-key, with spells in France and England, between 1994 and 2009.

After moving to Paris with his family as child, Cisse emerged through the youth ranks at Lille, before playing at Sedan, Paris Saint-Germain and Montpellier, ahead of joining Premier League side Birmingham City after the 2002 World Cup.

Cisse played 36 Premier League games, across two seasons, for Steve Bruce’s side, as the Blues established themselves in mid-table.

In 2004, he moved on to Portsmouth, making 23 top-flight appearances in two seasons, before returning to France to play for Sedan and Nimes.

Aliou Cisse playing career

  • Lille (FRA), 1994-1997
  • Sedan (FRA), 1997-1998
  • Paris Saint-Germain (FRA), 1998-2002
  • Montpellier (Loan) (FRA), 2001-2002
  • Birmingham City (ENG), 2002-2004
  • Portsmouth (ENG), 2004-2006
  • Sedan (FRA), 2006-2008
  • Nimes (FRA), 2008-2009

Aliou Cisse clubs managed

The vast majority of Cisse’s coaching experience comes from within the Senegal national team, with roles in the senior team and the Under-23 set-up.

He did, briefly, assist Jean Acedo at French club Louhans-Cuiseaux immediately after retiring from playing in 2010, but did not take up his own first-team coaching position until 2012.

Team Role Date
Louhans-Cuiseaux Assistant coach 2010-2011
Senegal Under-23/Olympic team Coach 2012-2015
Senegal national team (interim) Joint coach 2012-2015
Senegal national team Coach 2015-present


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