Senegal’s soccer league came to a breathtaking end on the final day, with a 4-way battle for survival. Génération Foot clinched the title on the evening of Matchday 24 following a 0-1 win over Diambars. This is the 3rd title in the history of the Grenats, who were in a bad way at the halfway stage. Thanks to an impressive run in the 2nd half of the season, GF outclassed the competition. At the bottom of the table, AS Douanes were the big losers, relegated to D2 at the end of the 26th and final day.
Génération Foot champion of Senegal 2023
The curtains have fallen on the 2022-2023 season of Senegal’s Ligue 1. Day 26, which was supposed to put an end to the suspense in the fight for survival, lived up to all its promises. Four clubs were involved in the battle to avoid the purgatory, and it was AS Douanes who finally fell by the wayside. The title did not escape Génération Foot. It was the 3rd crown for the Déni Birame Ndao academy (60 KM from Dakar). A most unexpected outcome, given that the Grenats were stuck at the bottom of the standings at the break.
Guédiawaye and Diambars to prevent a Casa Sport double
Senegal’s Ligue 1 has rarely offered so much adversity in the race for the title. Three clubs are neck and neck after 11 rounds and the CHAN break. Title holders Casa Sport (2nd, 21 points) had given themselves the means for a historic back-to-back since the start of the professional era (2009). Despite the loss of their Gambian virtuoso, Lamin Jarju, the southern club had retained most of its key players, in addition to a number of reinforcements.
However, they had to contend with Diambars, leader with 21 points, and Guédiawaye FC, 3rd (20 points).With an average of almost 2 points per game, Casa Sport, Diambars and Guédiawaye FC seemed to be heading for a three-way battle for the title. At the end of Matchday 13, Casa Sport are back in the lead with 25 points. One point ahead of Guédiawaye FC and Diambars. The possibility of becoming the first club in the professional era to retain its title is becoming clearer, despite the resistance of its direct pursuers.Even more so when the Ziguinchor club welcomes back Stéphane Badji on March 31. The reinforcement of the midfielder, a former Senegalese international, came as a boost to bring the championship to a close. But there was a 4th man out of the woodwork.
Génération Foot’s impressive finish
Relegated to 14 points behind leaders Casa Sport at the halfway stage, Génération Foot had a disastrous first half of the season, but this was far from prohibitive. This delay in the standings, combined with the mid-season loss of a number of first-team regulars such as Lamine Camara, Pape Amadou Diallo and Malick Mbaye, presented coach Balla Djiba with a remake of “Mission Impossible”. The new coach of Déni Birame Ndao’s academy did not panic, however, and dipped into the attic of the junior category. A solution that paid off as soon as the competition resumed in March.
With 6 players selected by Senegal for the CAN U20, Génération Foot was exempt from the championship between mid-February and mid-March. Thanks to a fine run of victories, GF (3rd, 26 points) found themselves on the podium at the end of matchday 16, 3 points behind new leaders Guédiawaye FC. With 10 games to go, neither the change of coach nor the loss of key players seems to be stopping the Grenats’ Remontada.Buoyed by their captain Jean-Louis Barthélémy Diouf (9 goals in 12 games), who was in the cellar under Djiby Fall and revived by Balla Djiba, Génération Foot are literally flying towards a 3rd title.
The Grenats’ unprecedented run of 13 wins and a draw against Casa Sport (D15) in the second half of the season logically offers them a 3rd Senegalese championship crown. With a 10-point lead over runner-up Casa Sport (43 points) and 11 over Guédiawaye FC (3rd, 42 pts) and Diambars (4th, 42 points). Sunday’s defeat by Linguère on the final day of the season ended a 14-game unbeaten run, but was still a minor setback.
AS Douanes in purgatory
At the bottom of the table, the fight for survival has been the order of the day, with 4 clubs vying for 3 places. Stade de Mbour, AS Pikine, Linguère de Saint-Louis and AS Douanes were all within 3 points of each other before this final episode of the season. While the first three managed a positive result, AS Douanes fell by the wayside, losing 1-0 away to Casa Sport. Les Gabelous have had a poor end to the season, with 3 wins, 3 draws and 4 defeats in their last 10 matches before this final day.