Sport CAN-2019: Cissé-Belmadi, two friends but one champion

CAN-2019: Cissé-Belmadi, two friends but one champion

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Cairo – Same age to a day, same childhood city, same long career as a player, and today, same success as coach. All joins Senegalese friends Aliou Cissé and Algerian Djamel Belmadi, but only one will win the CAN final on Friday in Cairo.

. A French formation …

In football, it's called a tight mark: the technician dreadlocks was born on March 24, 1976 in Senegal, and the Fennecs, the next day in Champigny-sur-Marne. It was in this suburban Parisian town, where Cissé moved at the age of nine, that the two men forged their common destiny – but without crossing teenagers.

"It's an old acquaintance. I say it with a lot of sympathyBelmadi admits, but when the attacking midfielder left to train at Paris SG, the defender chose Lille, and if they never played together, they crossed paths with France, which they scoured for nearly a week. ten years.

The Algerian, then in Marseille, must remember the victory against PSG Cisse in February 2001 in the Championship.

With nearly 180 L1 matches between them, in six different clubs, the two players, also international with their respective countries, marked the 2000s. But it is in Africa that their heritage has taken a higher dimension.

…. but an African destiny

On the field, Cissé, captain of the CAN-2002 finalist team, beat Belmadi 3-0 in 2001. On the bench, the Algerian took his revenge in Egypt in pools (1-0), while waiting the beautiful of Friday.

This final will be the first between two African coaches since 1998 between Egypt Mahmoud El-Gohary and South Africa Jomo Sono, a statistic that shows the difficulty of the task for coaches "from the raw", according to the expression of Senegalese.

"It's a lot more complicated when you're local than when you're an expatriate. It's up to us (Africans) to trust us, our sons, our coaches. Little by little, the deal is changing"he continued.

"Playing this final against my friend Cisse, it's extraordinary. It's a good message we send to our football leaders in Africa, it's amazing. I know Cisse and he does a good job"said the Algerian.

Cissé has built his team since his appointment in 2015, progressively progressing: first World Cup in 2018 after 16 years of absence and first CAN final since 2002. Belmadi, who arrived in 2018, inherited it an unstable situation, undermined by the succession of five technicians in two years.

. Two different coaching courses

They are now on the same line, just minutes from the continental title. But their coaching career was not totally identical: when Cissé, driven by his desire for revenge after the lost 2002 final, only knew Senegal as coach N.1, Belmadi spent eight years in Qatar, with notably a transition to the head of the national team between 2014 and 2015, before arriving at the Fennecs.

"Cissé is a coach in the image of his playing career. He is very disciplined. Despite his lack of experience in coaching, he has had quick results and consistency in his work, it is also thanks to his brilliant career"said the Algerian.

"Djamel is a great tactician, a very good coach. He knows how to play his team as he likes to play"replied the Senegalese.


In Egypt, the two teams did not take the same route for the final: when Algeria was more impressed by his game, Senegal was stronger in defense. Friday night, only one country will reach its goal.

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