Sunday, July 14, 2024

Five Reasons Why Ivory Coast Won AFCON 2023 

The last time Ivory Coast clichéd an AFCON trophy was in 2015. However, on Sunday 11th, 2024, they emerged victorious after beating Nigeria 2-1 in the finals.

While their counterpart had mounted a spirited fight since the tournament, the tables were turned at the Alassane-Ouattara stadium in Abuja.

That miraculous win against the Super Eagles left punters, football fans, and analysts with more questions than answers. How could a team, once on the verge of dropping out of the tournament at the group stage, win the trophy?

So, what motivated the Elephants to reach this level?

ü Increased Confidence

One factor that can make a team win in any match is confidence. Thankfully, The Elephants exuded more confidence when playing against the Super Eagles. When it came to players, each of them participated actively in the game, thereby making their team emerge as the overall winner of the AFCON 2023 trophy.

On the other hand, the Super Eagers appeared to be nervous. That could be attributed to the fact that winning the AFCON trophy is no mean feat. The other factor is that they were outside their own country. Regardless of the reason for the Super Eagle’s nervousness, the Elephants took advantage of it and did the unimaginable.

ü Change of a Football Coach

After Ivory Coast lost to Equatorial Guinea in a match that ended 4-0, the hope for the Elephants to win the AFCON 2023 was significantly dashed. The Ivorian Football Federation dismissed Jean Louis Gasset and hired Emerse Fae, a former player, to salvage the Elephants.

Emerse Fae was appointed on January 24th, 2024, and has been in charge of the Elephants since then. His stewardship saw Ivory Coast defeat Senegal in the Round of 16. Further, Ivory Coast defeated Mali during extra-time in the quarter-finals and beat DRC Congo in the semi-finals. He successfully guided his team to bag the trophy on the final day, one significant achievement that will remain in history books.

ü  Decorated Squad

The Ivory Coast team is quite decorated, with most of the squad members playing in elite leagues across the globe. This level of experience gave them the much-needed skills to outsmart opponents. From S. Aurier, W. Bolly, D. Fofana, and S. Adingra to the man of the moment, S.Haller, nearly every member of the Ivorian squad players in European top leagues.

ü Home Advantage

The chances are usually high in AFCON that the host team can bag the trophy. And it makes complete sense because, by default, they will have more fans cheering them towards victory. The Ivory Coast fans indeed showed up for the Elephants during the good and hard times and cheered them from the first minute to the final day of the tournament. This is an advantage the Super Eagles lacked and saw them suffer the expected fate—losing.

ü Inspiration From The Greats

If there’s one thing the Elephants enjoyed, it was the support they received from legends like Drogba. While the former Chelsea striker took a back seat from the management role in the squad, his presence in the stadium and probably in the dressing room made a big difference. He was available during all the matches and freely shared his opinions on social media to support his country. The coach, Emerse Fae, is also a former player for Ivory Coast, and he took advantage of this to inspire his team to success.

Final Words

Ivory Coast’s AFCON 2023 win was a historic comeback 8 years after they held that title. From exuding confidence to having an elite squad, there are many reasons why Ivory Coast bagged the AFCON 2023 trophy. It remains to be seen whether Ivory Coast will retain that title or let it slip off their hands in the next AFCON tournament. Let’s wait and see!

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