*Africa’s Most Memorable World Cup Moments*
The Emergence of El Hadji Diouf
He may have accrued many enemies over the subsequent decade or so, but it’s hard to deny that El Hadji Diouf was one of the darlings of world football when he first burst onto the scene in 2002.
One of the great joys of the World Cup is the emergence of new, unheralded young players. Michael Owen and Pele, in 1998 and 1958 respectively, are two prominent examples of prodigies who burst onto the scene on the grandest stage of all with acceleration and inspiration.
Diouf is probably the closest Africa has to such a revelation. His magnificent wing play terrorised the French defence that, although ageing, had been largely impermeable up to the opening game of the 2002 tournament.
BBC Sport reported after the game: “Diouf repeatedly harassed the French defence into mistakes and was instrumental in Bouba Diop’s goal.”
Senegal were a devastating force on the counter-attack during the summer of ’02 and that was due, to a large extent, to Diouf’s speed and excellent footwork.