Elimane Cisse Wins African Nations Championship With Senegal
Two-time CPL champion Elimane Cisse can add another medal to his cabinet.
The 27-year-old former Forge FC midfielder made three appearances for Senegal en route to the country’s 2023 African Nations Championship win this weekend, featuring against the Ivory Coast, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The tournament marked Cisse’s first return to the national team since his debut in 2016.
The African Nations Championship requires player rosters to be comprised of athletes in their respective domestic championships. When Senegal won the Africa Cup of Nations last year, just one player on its 28-man roster played in Senegal.
Cisse’s return to national team consideration came after tremendous club form with Senegalese Premier League club Diambars FC, with the midfielder involving himself in the creation of plenty of goals to boost his profile.
“We are ready to die on the pitch to get the three points for the Senegalese people. My teammates and I will approach this match with great motivation and determination,” he told press ahead of final group stage match win Congo, where he contributed an assist.
Cisse was expected to feature in the knockout stages until an injury saw him benched in the quarter-final against Mauritania, and he’d remain there for the next two matches of the tournament – including the country’s 4-5 penalty win in Saturday’s final against Algeria.
Cisse’s professional playing career got its start with Diambars, a club located just about an hour from his birthplace in the nation’s capital. His move to Forge was his first time playing club football abroad, with his time in orange saw him make 74 appearances across all competitions. The midfielder helped the team to two North Star Shield wins while featuring in centre-midfield, right-back, and even up front when needed.
He procured three goals and four assists for Forge before moving to Moroccan side Union de Touarga, helping them achieve promotion before returning to boyhood club Diambars and establishing himself as a leading midfielder in the Senegalese top flight.
He represented Senegal at the U-20 level at the 2015 African U-20 Championship, and also helped guide the team to a fourth-place finish at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Prior to this year’s African Nations Championship, his only other senior national team appearance came in a friendly against Mexico in 2016.
Now a proven medal-winner with Senegal, it’ll be interesting to see if Cisse remains with Diambars or if more international interest awaits the midfielder.