2018 World Cup Qualifiers, Senegal's Lamine Gassama in action with South Africa's Sibusiso Vilakazi. (REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko)
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In Senegal, the 2002 World Cup team remain a source of national pride.The run to the quarterfinals in Senegal's World Cup debut in Japan and South Korea 16 years ago captivated the tournament as the charismatic and carefree West African team beat defending champion France and charged through to the last eight.The 2002 team has cult status in Senegal.This Senegal squad, blessed with the talents of Sadio Mane and Kalidou Koulibaly, is on a different World Cup journey.More than one-third of Senegal's roster was born abroad, mostly in France.In 2002, all but two players were born in Senegal.Diouf passed to Lens teammate Pape Bouba Diop for Senegal's most famous goal against France.Aliou Cisse is the link to both teams, the captain in 2002 and now the coach.No African team has reached the semifinals and only Cameroon, Senegal and, most recently, Ghana have made the World Cup quarterfinals.Mamadou Assane Ba was 10 years old at home in Pikine when Senegal beat France.
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