Senegal’s Lions of Teranga Win the African Cup of Nations of 2021

Senegal Lions of Teranga celebrate winning the AFCON 2021 (

Yesterday February 6th, Senegal won the 2021 African Cup of Nations against the Pharaohs of Egypt to become the new champions. This was their first win in the history of the game. To be awarded the trophy after so many years of getting so close is a real joy. They came second at the last edition CAN 2019 missing the trophy against the Fennecs of Algeria. I am happy that with their Senegalese coach (not many African teams have African coaches these days), Senegal made us really proud.

Egypt’s forward Mohamed Salah in Garoua (Left) on January 15, 2022; and Senegal’s forward Sadio Mane in Yaounde on February 2, 2022 (Right). (Photo by Daniel BELOUMOU OLOMO and Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP via Getty Images)

The game opposed some of the biggest football players in the world Sadio Mané of Senegal and Mohamed Salah of Egypt, both of Liverpool FC.  Sadio Mané, scored the winning penalty in the shootout against Egypt, having seen a first-half spot-kick saved as Sunday’s game ended in 0-0 after extra time. “It’s the best day of my life and the best trophy of my life,” the 29-year-old Liverpool forward said. “I won the Champions League and some [other] trophies but this is the special one for me. This is more important for me. … I am happy for myself, my people and all of my family.” Mane credits his team-mates with giving him the strength to return in the shootout, where he sealed a 4-2 triumph. “When I missed the first penalty, it was a big blow for me,” he said. “But my team-mates came to me and said ‘Sadio, we lose together and we win together. … The trophy belongs to the whole Senegal team – everyone deserves it.”

Senegal’s coach Aliou Cisse celebrating victory (

For Senegal’s coach Aliou Cissé, this marks a victory at his third attempt in the Nations’ Cup final. The 45-year-old captained the Teranga Lions when they finished as runners-up in 2002 – missing the decisive penalty in the shootout against Cameroon – and coached Senegal when they lost against Algeria in 2019. He dedicated the 2022 victory to his countrymen before his post-match press conference was interrupted by his squad for celebrations. … He said, “[this] really proves the mental strength of this generation. We are very happy, we dedicate this victory to the Senegalese people, because since independence until now we are running after this first star. … Today, we will also have a star on our shirt.”

As a result of their win, Senegal has declared Monday a national holiday to celebrate winning its first ever Africa Cup of Nations! It is also good to note that the Lions of Teranga of Senegal won against the Pharaohs of Egypt in the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Cameroon. Many locals have claimed that the late Cameroonian President Ahidjo who is still buried in Senegal (story for another day), had been watching over the Senegalese team and blessing them, given that Senegal has been good to the previous president and his entire family.

The Fennecs of Algeria Win the African Cup of Nations 2019

CAN 2019_Algeria
The Fennecs of Algeria celebrate winning AFCON 2019 (The Guardian)

This past Friday, the Fennecs of Algeria defeated the Lions of Teranga of Senegal 1-0 to become Africa’s new champions. This was their second title since 1990.  Even though the final was not the desert foxes’s best game, they clearly were the best team of the tournament. Baghdad Bounedjah‘s early goal propelled Algeria to a first Africa Cup of Nations title in 29 years with a fiery 1-0 victory over Senegal in Friday’s final in Cairo.


Algeria’s coach Djamel Belmadi and Senegal’s coach Aliou Cisse

I would like to salute both coaches.  The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations was the first time in over 20 years when both finalists were led by African coaches: Algeria by Djamel Belmadi and Senegal by Aliou Cissé. This should be the norm, rather than the exception. Coincidentally, both coaches grew up in the same suburb of Paris, are the same age only separated by one day, and played against each other at youth level. They came head-to-head in a league game between Marseille and Paris Saint-Germain in February 2001, and then with their national teams two months later. Again African teams should be led by Africans… No wonder Egypt performed so poorly at the AFCON 2019 (this is the first time, they were not led by a local).

Flag of Madagascar

The revelation of this tournament was the Barea of Madagascar which for their first participation ever to the African Cup of Nations, performed extremely well, and went as far as the quarter finals. For their successful performance, their country’s president knighted the whole team.

Overall, AFCON 2019 brought us a lot of joy and tears, and we applaud the winners of this year’s tournament Algeria.