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    Senegal: A nation celebrates after AFCON victory | Africa | DW

    Celebrations continue in the West African nation of Senegal following the nation’s first victory in the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) final.

    victory was a long time coming for the teranga lions, who suffered two previous losses in the afcon final in 2019 and 2002.

    Reading: Senegal african cup of nations

    His achievement has brought smiles to the faces of thousands of Senegalese fans, with President Macky Sall declaring Monday a public holiday so the celebrations can continue.

    public broadcaster rts said sall had canceled the last leg of a diplomatic trip to greet the team on Tuesday at the presidential palace in dakar after they returned from the host country, cameroon.

    congratulated the lions in a tweet, saying: “what a game! what a team! you did it. beautiful soccer moment, beautiful moment of communion and national pride. congratulations to our heroes!”

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    dw correspondent robert ade said celebrations continued throughout the night in dakar, with the streets filled with jubilant supporters despite the measures in place against covid-19.

    “The party continues in houses, bars and restaurants until dawn, defying the barrier measures against the covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

    a young teranga lions fan told dw that the afcon win “brings us a lot of joy.”

    “I’m very happy with this team because they won the cup for us,” he said. “We just needed the cup.”

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    “We’ve been dreaming about it for years,” another follower told dw. “it’s a successful [afcon], especially for us champions.”

    first test of afcon’s success

    Liverpool winger Sadio Mane became Senegal’s hero on Sunday night, scoring the winning penalty to give his team a 4-2 win over Egypt in Yaoundé.

    The AFCON tournament was scheduled in the middle of the European club season, causing quite a stir as hundreds of players left their clubs to represent their countries on the continent.

    mane told reporters that the victory marked not only the most important trophy of his life, but the most important day of his life.

    “I’m living a dream,” he said. “I can’t believe it. The wait was long, but we finally made it. We are all happy and proud to win this trophy.”

    Although he was frustrated after missing a penalty during the match, he thanked his teammates for supporting him and keeping his spirits high throughout the match.

    “You know what made the difference when I missed the first penalty? All my teammates came up to me and said, ‘Who cares, we’re a team, we win together and we lose together.'”

    a long wait comes to an end

    mariam, a fan, told dw in dakar that the Senegalese “are very proud of our team. we did our best and won.”

    “We are proud to be Senegalese,” he added. “Today is a holiday, tomorrow is a holiday. We are going to celebrate this all year long!”

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    After gaining independence in 1960, Senegal rarely qualified for AFCON before emerging as a powerful footballing force in 2002, under now head coach Aliou Cisse.

    but even this new and stronger side endured many heartaches. Cisse, who was also the team captain at the time, was one of the players to miss a penalty in the 2002 AFCON final against Cameroon. Just a few months later, Senegal became the second African team to reach the FIFA World Cup quarter-finals.

    After a career playing for English clubs Birmingham City and Portsmouth, Cisse took over as Senegal’s head coach in 2015.

    “It just shows that if you work hard, if you persevere, you will get what you want,” he told reporters after the game.

    “I am very excited because the people of Senegal have wanted this trophy for 60 years.”

    winger mane dedicated the win to cisse.

    “The Senegalese people have suffered a lot, but I dedicate this trophy to Aliou Cisse,” he said.

    “You can’t begin to understand what he has brought to Senegalese football. He deserves it all.”

    edited by: ineke mules

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