Aliou Cisse is a former Senegalese international footballer. He was part of the Senegal team that beat France and reached the quarterfinals in the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
A former defensive midfielder, Cisse, 46, joined the Senegal coaching staff in 2012 as an assistant coach for the London Olympics. Three years later, when he was promoted as the head coach as a replacement for Alain Giresse, he discarded a few senior players like Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse, and Papy Djilobodji to rebuild the team that would imbibe his vision.
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Cisse is a hard taskmaster. He emphasises discipline and hard work and banned hookahs and flashy items such as watches from the dressing room.
Players called him a ‘dictator’, but the discipline that he infused in the team bore fruit: Senegal qualified for two consecutive World Cup editions after missing three since 2002 and became the AFCON champion for the first time in 2022.
In the World Cup qualifiers, Senegal qualified as the group topper, as it beat Egypt in a playoff. Cisse used the 4-3-3 formation, with Sadio Mane and Boulaye Dia leading the attack.
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In Qatar, Sisse would like to see his boys do better than what he and his teammates did in South Korea and Japan twenty years back.