Friday, June 21, 2024

Relief for Ivory Coast after winning AFCON

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Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi is an experienced and award winning journalist from Ghana. He has worked for several media brands both in Ghana and on the International scene. Isaac Kaledzi is currently serving as an African Correspondent for DW.

Just like a fairy tale story, Ivory Coast went from being almost eliminated from the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations to winning it eventually.

It has sparked a lot of emotion that has triggered relief and joy for the host nation.

Ivory Coast came from behind to beat Nigeria in Sunday’s final at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium.

Sebastien Haller was the hero for the Elephants. The striker, who is playing at the tournament just 13 months on from his return from testicular cancer, flicked in Simon Adingra’s cross with the toe of his boot with nine minutes remaining to complete a second-half comeback.

Winning coach Emerse Fae who started the tournament as assistant to Jean-Louis Gasset but took over when the French coach was fired told reporters the end result has brought relief.

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Fae, 40 took time to hail Gassetโ€™s input, even though he was sacked. โ€œHe should also be associated with this win,โ€ Fae said.

โ€œWhen I think about all we went through, the hard times when we [were] almost out, and the matches where we came back in last minutes, we have created some miracles. But it is also because we kept fighting to the last minute when the odds were against us,” he said.

โ€œWe feel relief firstly after all the difficulties. We were close to humiliation but when we had a second chance, we were determined not to waste it,โ€ Fae added.

The Ivorians are now the first hosts to win the Cup of Nations in the last eight editions since Egyptโ€™s home success in 2006.

Ivory Coast though has become the 12 host nation to win the Nations Cup title. Sunday’s win adds to Ivory Coast’s previous Nations Cup wins in 1992 and 2015.

This is also Nigeria’s second defeat in Abidjan after losing to Cameroon in 1984.


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