Who is Senegal manager Aliou Cisse - what are his links to Birmingham City and Portsmouth?

Senegal manager Aliou Cisse, who faces England in the World Cup round of 16, has an affiliation with both Birmingham City and Portsmouth - here’s why.
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Senegal will be the side to face England in the World Cup round of 16 after they managed an impressive 2-1 victory over Ecuador on Tuesday. The Lions of Teranga made it out of the group stage for just the second time in their history, after failing to advance to the latter stages at the 2018 tournament in Russia.

Their manager, Aliou Cisse, has wowed supporters with his tactical intelligence throughout the competition so far, with two wins out of their three fixtures over in Qatar. The only side to beat Senegal was the Netherlands, and a lot of that is down to Cisse and the way he’s instilled confidence in his side.

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Senegal bounced back after losing their World Cup Group A against the Dutch with two successive victories. The first was a 3-1 thrashing over Qatar, as Boulaye Dia, Famara Diedhiou and Bamba Dieng got on the scoresheet, whereas the second was the decisive 2-1 win against Ecuador - with Ismaila Sarr and Kalidou Koulibaly grabbing goals.

Something a lot of people won’t know about Cisse is that he does in fact have a strong link with two English clubs from the early 2000s - Birmingham City and Portsmouth. For many football fans in general, not necessarily Bluenoses and Pompey, Cisse’s name would have likely been rather unknown until the World Cup this year, but he’s a familiar name at both St Andrew’s and Fratton Park.

After famously guiding Senegal to the Africa Cup of Nations title in 2021, beating Egypt in the final, some began to become more aware of Cisse’s name and ability. He had quite the career before that, though, with much of his success from many years ago. With that in mind, here is everything you need to know about the Senegal hero, including his connection to Birmingham.

Who is Aliou Cisse?

Aliou Cisse is a Senegalese football coach and former professional footballer. He has been the manager of the senior Senegal national team since 2015 and before that was in charge of the Senegal Under-23s from 2013 to 2015. Cisse played 35 times for Senegal and captained his national team to the quarter finals of the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

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Having moved to Paris at the age of nine, Cisse grew up with hopes of playing for Paris Saint-Germain one day. He began his playing career - as a defender and midfielder - with Lille before getting his dream move to PSG in 1998. Cisse played 43 league matches for the Parisiens ahead of embarking on a new challenge in England.

What is Aliou Cisse’s connection to Birmingham City and Portsmouth?

After leaving PSG in 2002, Cisse joined Birmingham in their debut Premier League season. He went on to play on 36 occasions for the Blues and built up quite the relationship with fans during a two-year spell at St Andrew’s. On his Blues debut against Arsenal, Cisse was famously sent off. His suspension was rescinded, but he went on to receive a further five yellow cards in the next six games.

Cisse returned late to training in the summer of 2003 and was placed on the transfer list by manager Steve Bruce, but he eventually made his way back into the first team. He left the West Midlands for the south coast in 2004, heading to fellow Premier League club Portsmouth. Cisse went on to make 23 appearances for Pompey.

Aliou Cisse battles with Bolton Wanderers star Jay Jay Okocha during his time at Birmingham City.Aliou Cisse battles with Bolton Wanderers star Jay Jay Okocha during his time at Birmingham City.
Aliou Cisse battles with Bolton Wanderers star Jay Jay Okocha during his time at Birmingham City.

When is England vs Senegal and how can I watch the game on TV?

Cisse’s Senegal face England on Sunday, December 4. The game, which kicks off at 7pm, will be aired live on ITV1, with build-up starting at 6pm. Whoever comes out on top will play against the winner of France vs Poland, which takes place at 3pm on Sunday.

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