Aliou Cisse has unfinished business as he eyes AFCON title with Senegal
Posted: 28 January 2017 Time: 16:15
Senegal coach Aliou Cisse has his heart set on completing "unfinished business" at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon.
15 years later, Cisse still has regrets of that fateful night in Bamako, Mali, in which the Lions of Teranga faltered at the final hurdle of the 2002 continental championships.
Senegal drew 0-0 with Cameroon after extra-time, before missing three penalties to surrender the title to a Samuel Eto'o and Marc-Vivien Foe-led side, with Cisse – a midfielder and captain at the time – missing the last penalty.
Tonight's quaterfinal in Port-Gentil presents an opportunity for Cisse's outfit to enact revenge, as they seek to make amends and reach only their second final in the history of the competiition.
"A sense of unfinished business, a job not yet accomplished," Cisse told AFP in Franceville. "It is true that every day we say to the players: 'Don't make the error that we made'.
"When you have the possibility to write history, it's now, not tomorrow. In 2002, we were 25, 26 years old and we said to ourselves: 'No worries, in 2004 we will win it.
"And we still haven't won it. It is a regret."
The 40-year-old was appointed coach of the senior national team in March 2015, and is one of only two African coaches – the other being Florent Ibenge of DR Congo – in the last eight.
"Former internationals have two choices: there is the choice to die with your knowledge, and there is the choice to come and pass on our experience," he added.
"I chose the latter. Senegal gave me the opportunity and I am happy to do it. We have a proverb that says: 'Only a son of the country can build that country.' And I believe it.
"We love our country and if we want to help the country develop, I can't do it in another sector. I can only do it in football. And I did not hesitate for a moment."
Cisse is the first coach since Abdoulaye Sarr in 2006 to have lead Senegal out of the group stage, and has breathed a sigh of relief as they've reached their first objective.
"It's a relief because it has been a good while since Senegal got this far. Different generations since then have come and gone but have struggled to get there.
"Our number one objective was to get out of this group. The boys have done it," he concluded.
The clash between the two African giants will kick-off at 21h00, with Burkina Faso taking on Tunisia in the other quarterfinal at 18h00 tonight.
Both matches will be shown live on SuperSport 6HD.