Warm welcome for AFCON runners up Senegal in Dakar
Defeated by their defeat against Algeria (1-0) Friday in the final of the CAN-2019, players from Senegal were smiling again on Saturday during a triumphant return to Dakar, where they were cheered by a huge crowd all along a bus ride to the capital that will remain etched in the memories.
Arrived from Cairo at Leopold Sedar Senghor airport at 16:00 (GMT and local), Sadio Mané and his teammates boarded a white bus to get to the Palace of the Republic, where they were received by President Macky Sall.
The journey, about fifteen kilometres, took place at a pace and lasted more than four hours.
Descended from the neighbourhoods of Yoff, Medina, HLM or Colobanne, the Dakar accompanied the procession on foot, motorbike or perched on cars, taking the highway leading to the historic heart of the capital where agglutinating on the decks overlooking the players' passage.
Emerging at times from the roof of the coach, the "Lions" were taking pictures, seeming amazed at the sight of these thousands of supporters waving flags, dancing and jumping to the sound of vuvuzelas and taking heart "Dieureudieuf Senegal!" (Thanks Senegal, in Wolof national language).
The Senegalese, with their status of globalist, African First Nation ranking Fifa, and the contribution of his European champion Sadio Mané (Liverpool) were confident that finally overcome the Indian sign on the occasion of the second continental final of their history, after that lost in 2002 against Cameroon.
But the hopes of a football-loving people were showered in the 79th second by deflected shot bell Algerian Baghdad Bounedjah.
"The luck did not smile, but I hope it will be for next time", reacted Sadio Mané, evoking his "sadness", his descent from the plane but we could see a little later, shirtless, shaking hands through a window of the coach, a big smile on his face.
"We are very happy to return to the country, but we would have liked to bring back the cup for these people, these supporters," said coach Aliou Cissé. "The players have gone out of their way, it's an honour for me to coach these boys," said the former Lions captain, CAN's unfortunate finalist in 2002.
"We would have liked to come back with the cup", while Senegal has never won a major trophy, has also dropped the attacking midfielder Papa Alioune N'Diaye, "disappointed" as many of his teammates.
For the president of the Senegalese Federation, Augustin Senghor, the "feelings are mixed", between the joy of having "crossed several stages" during this CAN and the "strong disappointment" to have missed the last step. "We're not going to abdicate, next time we'll go get her," he promised.
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