Senegal National Football Team
The Senegal national football team has a history of exceeding expectations and upsetting prestigious teams. Over the last couple of decades, though, the Lions of Teranga have started to become a respectable force in their own right.
Their current FIFA world ranking of 18th is the highest in their history, and the team goes into the 2022 World Cup in Qatar as the champions of their continent for the first time ever.
But will they be the first nation to finally take home the prestigious trophy to Africa?
Want to see how The Senegal National Football Team will do in the Qatar 2022 World Cup? Click the links below to bet on your favourite World Cup matches!
Monday November 21 – Senegal vs Netherlands (Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor; kick-off 5pm).
Friday November 25 – Qatar vs Senegal (Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor; kick-off 2pm).
Tuesday November 29 – Ecuador vs Senegal (Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan; kick-off 4pm).
Independence And Organization
Sovereign football organization was difficult in Senegal while it was still under traditional French rule. However, once the country gained its independence, it wasted no time providing the sport with all the necessary official channels.
In 1960, the same year of independence, the Senegalese Football Federation was set up. A year later, the Senegal National Football team played its first match against Benin, which resulted in a 3-2 defeat. A year later, the national federation made its affiliation with FIFA official, and the year after that finalized integration into the footballing world by joining the African Football Confederation.
Right in the Deep End
Clearly, Senegal was raring to get going, and the competitions soon started. In 1965, only five years after the country had gained its independence, Senegal took place in its first Africa Cup of Nations. They ended the tournament in fourth place, which was nothing short of spectacular for a country whose football infrastructure was still in its infancy.
End of the Honeymoon Period
Unfortunately, Senegal’s fate wasn’t to remain so smooth. While they did qualify for the 1968 Africa Cup of Nations, they then went on an 18-year barren streak which saw them fail to qualify for any major tournaments. But soon, the country will start reaping the rewards of the love and resources given to the sport nationally.
In the 1990s, the Senegal team started to look like a serious contender in the African cup of Nations. After being eliminated in the quarter-finals by Cameroon in 1992, Senegal hoped to take revenge when the teams met once again in the final ten years later. Ultimately Cameroon would prevail after a tense penalty shootout, but Senegal was filled with a new belief that they could hold their own.
Senegal National Football World Cup Debut
Senegal National Football’s largest mark yet made on the world stage arguably came in 2002 when they beat France in their opening match of the World Cup.
The team, consisting of players like Thierry Henry and Zinedine Zidane, were the reigning world champions and widely expected to brush Senegal aside. However, Senegal ultimately made it to the quarter-finals before losing to Turkey, equalling the best performance in the competition for any African side.
First Major Trophy
Senegal’s golden generation came up in the 2010s, consisting of players like Sadio Mane, Edouard Mendy and Kalidou Koulibaly. The country made the most of the talent available to them by winning their first-ever African Cup of Nations in 2021. There is widespread hope in the country that the team will be able to equal previous records at the 2022 World Cup, if not beat them.
Senegal National Football Trivia
- While the team only has one major piece of silverware to its name, its trophy room isn’t completely sparse. In fact, Senegal holds eight Amílcar Cabral Cups. Last played in 2007, teams competed to be named the best side in West Africa.
- Senegal’s top scorer, Sadio Mane, is one of the most decorated footballers playing today. Having won European and domestic trophies with Liverpool, he recently moved to Bayern Munich to continue his exploits. He has 33 goals for his country.