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World Cup 2018

Cisse hoping to be a pioneer for black and African coaches

Aliou Cisse starred for Senegal as a player under Bruno Metsu and hopes the Frenchman is looking down on his team. Senegal won their opening match against Poland.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JUNE 19:  Aliou Cisse, Head coach of Senegal celebrates after the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group H match between Poland and Senegal at Spartak Stadium on June 19, 2018 in Moscow, Russia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. CoxGetty Images

Aliou Cisse is hoping the memory of Bruno Metsu can inspire his Senegal players at the World Cup - and cement his own status as a pioneer for a new breed of black coaches.

Cisse, the only black coach at the World Cup in Russia, was the captain under shaggy-haired Frenchman Metsu as Senegal reached the quarter-finals in 2002 on their maiden appearance on the global stage.

And, after paying tribute to Metsu, who died aged 59 in 2013, Cisse is hoping to become a positive influence for change.

Speaking ahead of Tuesday's clash with Poland in Moscow, which Senegal went on to win 2-1, the former Paris Saint-Germain midfielder said: "It's true I'm the only black coach in this World Cup, but really these are debates that disturb me.

"Football is a universal sport and the colour of your skin is of very little importance.

"It's good to have a black coach here but it shows that we have quality coaches among us. I represent a new generation that would like to have its place in African and world football.

"We are very good with our tactics and we have the right to be a part of the top international coaches."

"In European countries, in major clubs, you see lots of African players. Now we need African coaches for our continent to go ahead", said Cisse.

Asked if he would seek to replicate the team talks given by Metsu in their run to the last eight 16 years ago, Cisse added: "Bruno's speech was Bruno's speech. Now I'm the coach, I have my own way of managing the team.

"Before this match my thoughts go to Bruno, he did so much for Senegalese football. He qualified us for the first time, when I was captain, and now I'm coach but we know Bruno is looking down and we can feel that."

Cisse sees very few similarities between this Senegal team and the one he skippered in Japan and South Korea.

He said: "People want to compare 2002 and 2018 but mentalities have changed, education has changed, the way people think has changed.

"The 2002 team gave a lot of joy to the country and the current team will do the same thing. I fully trust them."

Cameroon in 1990 and Ghana in 2010 have also reached a World Cup quarter-final but that remains the best result achieved by an African country at the tournament.

But, despite admitting the continent has different "realities" to other parts of the world, Cisse remains convinced an African team will one day lift the trophy.

"Twenty years ago, African teams came just to be a part of the World Cup," he explained.

"Things have developed now. We've shown that we can do much more, we can participate and have excellent results, we just need to go to the next phase.

"It takes time. We have realities that aren't there on other continents, but we have a lot of quality and I'm sure that one day African teams will be able to win tournaments like Brazil and Germany do.

"We have no inferiority complex with European countries, you see lots of African players at major clubs."