Senegal lit up Africa's hopes when they won 2-1 against a stubborn Poland that had proved to provide some sort of intransigence. Poland looked uninspiring for the longest time, and a hint of luck aided the tenacity of the Lions of Teranga in handing Poland a well-deserved defeat.
Now Senegal's coach Aliou Cisse strongly believes that an African team will win the World Cup. But looking at how the African teams have fared so far, it would seem logical to say that maybe, he was referring to his own Senegal. Morocco and Egypt are already out of the tournament, and will play their last group games for pride only. Nigeria and Tunisia suffered defeats at the hands of Croatia and England respectively, and it now seems that Senegal may stand a chance to progress to the knockout stages.
No African team at the World Cup has progressed to the semi-finals. Africa has produced only 3 quarter-finalists. "Africa is full of quality and we're on the way," said Cisse. "It's a bit more complicated in our countries. We face realities that are not there in other continents. But we fully trust our football, we have no hang-ups."
Former Portsmouth midfielder Cisse, 42, believes "it's a bit too early to say" why African sides have had a difficult start to the tournament. "I'm certain that one day an African team, an African country, will win the World Cup," he added.
Judging from the performances outlined above of other African teams, it would only seem that Senegal have a chance of giving Africa a glimmer of hope. Will an African team win the World Cup? So far the World Cup has produced some upsets, that include Mexico defeating Germany, Iceland holding Argentina to a 1-1 draw and Switzerland holding Brazil to a 1-1 draw. Maybe, an African team will also produce an upset that will thrust the whole of the continent into a delirium of unfettered joy.
Senegal have now appeared at two World Cup tournaments, that is 2002 and 2018. And on both occasions they have won their opening matches. The hope now us that this year they manage to muster a fine run of bravery and good results so that they can get as far as they can. And maybe, Cisse's statements will be validated. Aliou Cisse is the only black manager at the 2018 World Cup and also the youngest.
African teams have started on a disappointing note, on the overall, but as it stands it would seem Senegal offer a tinge of hope for Africans. There is still more plenty of action to come.