Senegal make World Cup history

Dakar- Senegal (PANA) -- The streets of Dakar were empty on Saturday afternoon while the Senegalese national football team were playing their last World Cup qualifier against Namibia in Windhoek, but the capital suddenly teemed with celebration fifteen minutes after the final whistle.
Despite drubbing Namibia 5-0, the Senegalese "Lions" did not have their destiny in their own hands, as Group C rivals Egypt were trying to snatch the qualifying ticket in Algeria, and that match was stopped for 15 minutes due to crowd trouble.
Thus, Senegalese fans switched to satellite television and short wave radio stations as soon as the game ended in the Namibian capital.
However, when the Algeria-Egypt game ended 1-1 after that agonising quarter of an hour, people flooded the streets of Dakar to celebrate Senegal's qualification for the 2002 World Cup, an unprecedented event in the history of Senegalese football.
Senegal went into the Windhoek game lying third in Group C with 12 points, trailing leaders Morocco by three points and Egypt on goal difference.
As it turned out, the 5-0 thrashing of Namibia was not even necessary, as Egypt failed to capture three points in Algiers, Senegal therefore leapfrogged Egypt on points and edged Morocco on goal difference, to earn their ticket to Korea and Japan.
Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade, who attended the G8 in Genoa, Italy, cut his European trip short and met with the team in Nouakchott, Mauritania, flying with them to Dakar on board their specially chartered flight.
A throng greeted the players at the Leopold Sedar Senghor airport and toured the capital on board two coaches, to the delight of the fans.
The players will be received by Wade at the Presidential Palace Monday afternoon, and will be given awards for their achievement.
Following is the final Group C table: [ST] Teams P W D L Pts GD 1-Senegal 8 4 3 1 15 +12 2-Morocco 8 4 3 1 15 +6 3-Egypt 8 3 4 1 13 +9 4-Algeria 8 2 2 4 8 -3 5-Namibia 8 0 2 6 2 -17 [ET] Senegal will be among the five African countries to take part in the 2002 World Cup.
South Africa, Cameroon and Tunisia have also qualified.
The last ticket will go to Nigeria if they beat Ghana in their last group match next weekend or to Liberia if the Nigerians fail to get the necessary three points against Ghana.

23 july 2001 10:07:00




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