Senegal seek Korean lift
© AFP

Senegal will return to the scene of their footballing capstone in October, seeking to continue a revival that has taken them up four places to 80th on the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking in a friendly against Korea Republic. There, the Lions of Teranga caused a sensation by beating defending champions France en route to the quarter-finals of the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Jaoan™, matching the best performance by an African team in the competition.

Senegal's quest to reach South Africa 2010 ended in the first phase of continental qualifying, however, when they were pipped to places in the next round by Algeria and minnows Gambia. This prompted the resignation of their entire coaching staff, and the appointment of Augustin Senghor as the Senegal Football Federation (FSF) president.

Senghor immediately revealed his desire to see Senegal re-establish themselves as one of Africa's strongest teams, and they have started on the right footing. They won 2-1 in Congo DR in August, before drawing away to Angola and China PR earlier this month.

Still, Senegal are a considerably shy of the 50th place in which they finished 2008 on the Ranking, and their best-ever position of 26th, achieved in June 2004. However, their supporters believe in the talent of Marseille forward Mamadou Niang, who has ended a long international recess, and younger players like Jacques Faty, Issiar Dia and Mame Biram Diouf, recently signed by English giants Manchester United,

Senegal's next traget will be to qualify for the CAF African Cup of Nations 2012, and steadily climb back up the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. A positive result in Korea Republic would be a step in the right direction.