Wrestling has become the number one national sport in Senegal, ahead of football (soccer), and has also become a means of social ascendance. Wrestling is not just seen as a sport, it is also a slice of African life, tradition, and culture, in which there is a curious mix of animist and Muslim beliefs. Senegal has one of the most active national sports scenes in West Africa.
Traditional African wrestling is also extremely popular throughout the country, and Senegalese wrestlers are among the best-known national sports figures. They wrestle in a sandy arena and attempt to win by making their opponent’s knees, shoulder, or back touch the sand. Matches are festive and lively occasions, with music, dancing, and praise singing for the athletes; the actual wrestling bouts, however, are often over within a few seconds.
The Senegal national football team, nicknamed the Lions of Teranga, is the national team of Senegal and is controlled by the Fédération Sénégalaise de Football. It made its first World Cup in 2002 and caused a huge upset by defeating world and European champions France 1–0 in the tournament’s opening game. Senegal’s first appearance in the African Nations Cup was in 1965 and ranked 4th. In 1990, in the African Nations Cup, Senegal once again finished rank