Deep sadness covered the entire country like a blanket when Senegal lost the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations final on Friday.
No food, no drinks, no feast! Senegalese quickly shut their doors and went to bed. It was a painful evening, strongly reminiscent of the 2002 AFCON final which they lost to Cameroon in Mali.
However, the return of the vice champions the next day quickly changed the atmosphere, as thousands trooped down the Sedar Senghor Airport in Dakar to welcome coach Aliou Cissé and his team.
“You could see and feel it. They all had one message: well-done Teranga Lions! You can’t resist that kind of support, that kind of love from your people. It not only comforts, it motivates,” coach Cissé told ACLSports on Saturday.
“It’s very disappointing. It’s painful. Our hopes as a nation were shattered. We really believed we could make it. However, I think we need to calm down and try to convert this disappointment to energy. We can’t scrap this team. We need to continue.”
Asked if he would remain as coach of the Lions, the former Senegal captain is hopeful of a contract renewal but says his fate is in the hands of the football federation.
“Nobody here would say we did not do a good job. I think I am in their (FA) good books but if there comes the will for a change so be it,” he said.
Algeria snatched an early lead when Baghdad Bounedjah scored a fortuitous goal in the 2nd minute, which the Fennecs valiantly safeguarded until the final whistle to claim their second AFCON title.