Ivory Coast defied the odds to win the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) for the third time, beating Nigeria 2-1 in a thrilling final. The victory capped a remarkable journey for the Elephants, who started the tournament poorly and even saw their manager sacked.
From Humiliation to Glory:
After suffering a humiliating 4-0 defeat to Equatorial Guinea in the group stage, Ivory Coast looked destined for an early exit. However, they managed to scrape into the knockout rounds as one of the best third-placed teams. After coach Jean-Louis Gasset was sacked, interim manager Emerse Fae took charge and led the team on a stunning run.
Ivory Coast’s path to the final was littered with dramatic comebacks. They were down to 10 men and trailing against Mali in the quarter-final, but managed to win 2-1. In the final, they fell behind to Nigeria but fought back to win thanks to goals from Franck Kessie and Sebastien Haller.
Haller’s goal was particularly poignant, coming just 18 months after he underwent surgery and chemotherapy for a testicular tumour. His performance and the team’s overall triumph served as an inspiration to many.
The final whistle sparked jubilant scenes in Abidjan, with fans celebrating their team’s unlikely victory. The party is just getting started, and Ivory Coast can be proud of their incredible achievement.