World Cup 2022: Senegal’s Diallo hopes to break the African record in Qatar

Abdou Diallo of Senegal.Backpagepix.

Senegal defender Abdou Diallo is dreaming of breaking Africa's World Cup record by progressing to the semi-finals for the first time.

The Teranga Lions are one of the five African nations that will take part in the 2022 tournament in Qatar later in the year, and the Paris St-Germain defender is hopeful of advancing further than their previous attempts.

No African country has ever advanced past the quarter-finals and only Cameroon in 1990, Senegal in 2002, and Ghana in 2010 reached the last eight.

"Even though we can't see the future, you have to be convinced that you can definitely achieve it," Diallo told BBC Sport Africa.

"We also had a glass ceiling in the Nations Cup final and we broke it, so my dream is to break another one. If we manage to do that, I will be the happiest.

"There are no complexes. If we don't make it, we don't make it, but you have to accept that pressure because it means that we are doing a good job."

The 26-year-old star also recounted the inspiration they receive from the 2002 generation. That team was eliminated from the quarter-finals by Turkey after a golden goal in the fourth minute of extra time.

Current Senegal coach Aliou Cisse and retired forward El Hadji Diouf were part of the squad that is largely regarded as Senegal’s golden generation.

"These are our big brothers, we grew up with them. We were told about them all the time," Diallo added.

"That generation really inspired us and 20 years later, we got into the Nations Cup final again, won it this time, and had our older brothers with us, celebrating as if they had won it themselves. It was great."

Diallo went into detail, explaining how Diouf, a former Liverpool and Lens forward, inspires them.

"I think he will be one forever. Any type of game we're playing, he's there," he continued.

"It's good, he lights up and he is a true [ray of] sunshine when he comes. He puts us in that mindset: 'You are the best, you are going to win'.

"We can feel that he is behind us, he is also close friends with the manager who was his captain. It's always nice to have our elders [around] and to be united.

"Now it's our turn [at the World Cup]. We have to write this country's history and we'll see where it gets us."

In the November-December global competition, Senegal will start the campaign against the Netherlands before a game against Qatar and end their Group A assignments against Ecuador.

Diallo hopes Senegal will break their record

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