Press "Enter" to skip to content

Five ‘goal-den’ nuggets from Ivory Coast Africa Cup of Nations

Ivory Coast, the host nation, concluded the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in thrilling fashion on Sunday, clinching victory over Nigeria with a 2-1 scoreline in the final to secure their third championship title.

Despite dismissing manager Jean-Louis Gasset following a lackluster performance in the group stage, the Elephants emerged as the standout team of the tournament, showcasing resilience and determination en route to lifting the coveted trophy.

Here, we take a closer look at the standout moments from the latest edition of the tournament.

Comeback Elephants

After a shocking 4-0 defeat to Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast looked certain for an early exit.

The Ivorian Football Federation sacked French manager Gasset afterward and brought in former player Emerse Fae.

Having scraped through to the knockout rounds, they edged past big favorites and defending champions Senegal on penalties in the round of 16 in Fae’s first game in charge, then beat Mali in extra time in the quarterfinals and secured a 1-0 victory over DR Congo in the last four.

Given the nickname “Zombies,” they came back from the dead once again to beat Nigeria 2-1 in the final after going behind, proving you should never write off Ivory Coast.

Deeming Black Stars

It was a tournament to forget for Ghana, as they failed to make it out of the group stages with just two draws and a defeat.

A team that included West Ham star Mohammed Kudus, Crystal Palace veteran Jordan Ayew, and Athletic Bilbao forward Inaki Williams struggled to help Ghana make any progress in the competition.

Former Brighton manager Chris Hughton was sacked after less than 12 months in charge, and the Black Stars have started their search for a new coach before the 2026 World Cup qualifiers in June.

Bafana Bafana defy the odds

Not many would have predicted South Africa would reach the semifinals of the tournament, and Bafana Bafana certainly caught the eye.

Their biggest challenge came when they took on 2022 World Cup semifinalists Morocco in the round of 16.

Goals from Evidence Makgopa and Teboho Mokoena sealed a famous 2-0 victory as PSG star Achraf Hakimi missed a penalty late on for the Moroccans.

New heights for Mauritania

Mauritania qualified for AFCON for the first time in their history in 2018, and heading into this year’s competition, they had new hopes of improving on their last performance.

The Lions of Chinguetti were still searching for their first win heading into the last group game against Algeria, and they pulled it off with a shock 1-0 victory to also send them to their first knockout match against Cape Verde.

Mauritania could not pull off another upset against Cape Verde, but they sealed their place in AFCON history with an impressive performance.

Rise in viewing figures

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) confirmed that more than 2 billion people worldwide watched the tournament live on TV.

Deals with many broadcasters have helped boost figures for the competition, and CAF president Patrice Motsepe predicts the next tournament’s viewing figures will be even better.

More from SportsMore posts in Sports »

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *