Every World Cup tends to feature at least one country that do much better than expected and grab people’s attention. Back at the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, Senegal were that team as they shocked opponent after opponent to reach the quarter-finals, one of only three African countries in history to do so.
The fact that it was their World Cup debut made their performances even more special. They famously knocked off World Champions France in their opening group game before drawing with Denmark and Uruguay to go through in second place. In the round of 16 they saw off Sweden in extra time before losing to Turkey who would go on to finish third.
Off the back of such a great tournament, Senegal players including Papa Bouba Diop, El Hadji Diouf and Aliou Cisse flocked to England and the Premier League. Cisse joined my team Birmingham and was a good servant for us. He also had a strong connection with the fans with us holding up a giant Senegal flag and having a money collection after he lost 12 family members in the MV Le Joola ferry disaster.
Since 2002, Senegal have failed to qualify for the World Cup so still have a pretty amazing record of reaching the quarters on their only visit. The year was a pretty special one for Les Lions de la Teranga as they lost to Cameroon in the final of the African Nations Cup. They are yet to win the tournament.
I managed to find this shirt for sale cheap on eBay and the auction also included the away shirt from the same year. After doing a bit of research, I believe this was the shirt used in the 2002 World Cup which makes it a bit more special. The shirt is a pretty nice design by Le Coq Sportif who are hardly known for their brilliant attempts.
Another African team added to the blog and it’s always nice to have a bit of history sitting in your wardrobe!