Who is Aliou Cisse, Senegal's head coach for the World Cup?

Who is Aliou Cisse, Senegal's head coach for the World Cup?

Bertha Wanjiku
updated at August 9, 2023 at 9:30 AM

"Ambition" is the most accurate word that can describe Aliou Cisse's career as a player and coach. His career had humble beginnings, but he kept pushing himself. That same ambition drives his managerial career and has enabled him to lead his team to several victories.

Who is Aliou Cisse, Senegal's head coach for the World Cup?
Senegal's Head Coach Aliou Cisse celebrates winning the Africa Cup of Nations 2021 final match between Senegal and Egypt at Stade d'Olembe in Yaounde, on 6th February 2022. Photo by Visionhaus
Source: Getty Images

Aliou Cisse was a former midfielder and defender for EFL teams Birmingham City, Portsmouth, and the Senegal national team. He took over from Alan Giresse as the head coach of the Lions of Teranga in 2015 and has guided the team to qualifying for the World Cup twice, consecutively, and winning their first AFCON title.

Profile summary

Full name

Aliou Cissé

Date of birth

24 March 1976

Place of birth

Ziguinchor, Senegal




1.8m or 5ft 9in


73kg or 161lbs


Football coach

Current club

Senegal national team

Net worth

$1 million



Aliou Cisse's biography

When he was nine years old, his family emigrated to France and settled in Champigny-sur-Marne. The icon dreamt of playing for PSG as a child and played for Lille and Sedan before achieving his vision in 1998.

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Aliou Cisse's age

The manager was born on 24 March 1976, in Ziguinchor in southwestern Senegal, making him 46 years old as of November 2022. He is an Aries

Aliou Cisse's wife

The coach keeps much of his private life under wraps, but he is known to be a devout family man from his online posts, where he dotes on his wife and kids. His wife is a Burundian lady with whom he has three daughters and two sons. His family lives in France, and whenever he catches a break from work, he travels to be with them.

Who was the coach of Senegal in the 2002 World Cup?

The Lions of Teranga made it to the quarter-finals stage at the 2002 South Korea and Japan FIFA World Cup, coached by Bruno Metsu and captained by Cisse. He is famous for guiding the team to a stunning win over France in the tournament's opening match. They were ousted after losing to Turkey but had gained their reputation as African giants.

Which teams did Aliou Cisse play for?

The star coach began his career at Lille and Sedan between 1994 and 1998, when he moved to PSG. He was then loaned to Montpellier Herault SC for the 2001-02 season. Between 2002 and 2006, he played for the EFL teams Birmingham City and Portsmouth. His transfer raised some corruption concerns within English football.

Senegal’s head coach for the World Cup
Aliou Cisse of Birmingham City in action during the pre-season friendly between Cheltenham Town and Birmingham City at Whaddon Road on 17th July 2004, in Cheltenham. Photo by Bryn Lennon.
Source: Getty Images

In November 2006, Cisse returned to Sedan, then signed with Ligue 2 team Nimes in 2008, where he played seven games before retiring in July 2009, aged 33. He also played for the national team between 1999 and 2005, with 35 caps, including participating in the 2002 Korea/Japan World Cup.

Aliou Cisse's career stats

The retired defensive midfielder played in several leagues, including the Premier League, Ligue 1, and English Football League. He also played for the Teranga Lions but did not score in his 35 match appearances.





Ligue 1




Premier League




Ligue 2




His most notable career achievements include:

  • 1X World Cup participant in 2002
  • 1X Africa Cup participant in 2002
  • 1X UI Cup winner in 2001-02

Aliou Cisse's coaching career

His coaching career began in 2012 as a caretaker after Amara Traore was sacked. He performed as the assistant coach of the U-23 team in 2013, when he took over as lead coach till March 2015, when he became head coach for the national team.

He led his team to win the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against South Africa, which saw them play in Russia. However, they were eliminated from the competition in the group stage after losing to Colombia. They also qualified for the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

Aliou Cisse
Senegal's coach Aliou Cisse has named Sadio Mane as part of the country's World Cup squad in Qatar, despite the striker suffering an injury playing for Bayern Munich. Photo: Sebastien Frej.
Source: Getty Images

His team was the runners-up in the 2019 AFCON tournament after losing to Algeria, their first since 2002 when Cisse was team captain. They redeemed themselves on 6th February 2022, with Sadio Mane's spot-kick, and won their first AFCON title.

Aliou Cisse's net worth

The coach made a decent amount of money as an Association football player in Europe and as a football coach, which amounts to approximately $1 million. His salary is not disclosed, but he is possibly one of the richest Senegalese nationals.

Who is Aliou Cisse?
Aliou Cisse, Head coach of Senegal, gives his team instructions during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia match between Senegal and Colombia on 28th June 2018, in Samara, Russia. Photo by Michael Steele.
Source: Getty Images

Cisse's family tragedy

Three hundred and thirty nine people perished in the MV Le Joola ferry disaster of 26th September 2002, off the coast of the Gambia. Cisse lost eleven family members, including an aunt, uncle, and cousins. He managed to lead Birmingham to a victory over West Ham and dedicated his win to the memory of his fallen relatives.

The Senegal national team are the leading African champs because of their coach's motivation and unrivalled talent. Aliou Cisse has had a successful playing and coaching career, and fans are eager to see what level of the 2022 Qatar World Cup he leads his team to.

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Bertha Wanjiku