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African Cup Of Nations

AFCON 2023: Morocco, ‘god’ of the Ivorians

The Elephants of Côte d’Ivoire will play in the round of 16 of their Africa Cup of Nations thanks to Morocco’s 1-0 victory against Zambia in the final round of the group phase.

The Ivorians’ comeback to the race was confirmed on Wednesday January 24, 2024 at the Laurent Pokou stadium in San Pedro after a long wait, which was a torture for a people whose last hope was a Moroccan victory. Morocco did it, thanks to captain Hakim Ziyech, who scored in the 38th minute – a goal that opened the door to paradise for the Ivorians.

SUCH A LONG WAIT

On the evening of their humiliating 4-0 defeat against the Nzalang Nacional of Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast were on the brink of elimination from its “most beautiful ever organised” AFCON 2023.

SURREAL AFFAIR

Another surreal affair came to light where, in the village of Akradio (An Adioukrou village which claims to have used mystical powers to ensure the Elephants won their first AFCON in Senegal in 1992) a 70-year-old woman who is not happy reversed the results of the match in favour of Equatorial Guinea by swallowing the Elephants’ goals (The Elephants scored two disallowed goals). The old woman and her seven accomplices were found in another village where they hid. After they were exposed, she promised to turn things around so that the Elephants will qualify.

IVORIANS SUPPORT MOROCCO

The same evening, Ghana, which was close to qualification, conceded a mysterious goal and were eliminated. Algeria did not qualify the next day. The Ivorian chances remained after the last minute qualification of Cameroon.

Then Morocco became the only hope of Ivory Coast. Morocco, the first country to arrive in Ivory Coast, are supported by the Ivorians and at each Moroccan match, Moroccan jerseys and tickets were distributed to Ivorians to go and support Morocco. The Ivorians have been behind Morocco and the Moroccans promised to do everything possible to win.

FIF FIRES GASSET

In the early hours of Wednesday, January 24, there was a rumour that the Executive Committee of the Ivorian Football Federation (FIF), after a meeting the day before, had decided to part ways with coach Jean Louis Gasset for insufficient results according to the clauses of the contract. And he will be replaced by Faé Emerse.

A few hours later, the FIF, in a press release signed by its Executive Director, Armand Gohourou, confirmed the information. The Ivorians were happy, but some still want the departure of president Idriss Diallo for the humiliation suffered by the Ivorians.

MOROCCAN GOAL, IVORIAN QUALIFICATION

Four matches were on the programme: if Mali won against Namibia, the Ivorians would be among the four best third-placed teams, but Mali played a goalless draw and Namibia qualified.

Morocco, the Ivorians’ only hope were aiming to finish top of their group after drawing 1-1 with the DRC.

For the first time, the Ivorians were focused on a match between Morocco and another country. Everyone prayed for Morocco’s victory. Hakim Ziyech opened the scoring in the 38th minute. A score which will remained unchanged until the break. At the restart no goal was scored, but the last five minutes of added time seemed like an eternity for the Ivorians until the final whistle.

CELEBRATION

At the Laurent Pokou stadium in San Pedro, Ivorian ministers, including that of Communication, Amadou Coulibaly, dressed in all orange could not contain their joy.

In town there was total jubilation. The streets were crowded with people in Ivorian colors who, on motorbikes, in cars, on foot, singing, running, were celebrating the Moroccan victory and Ivorian qualification.

Moroccan businesses were invaded by Ivorians who bought anything. They thanked Morocco and recalled the links between the late Ivorian President Houphouet Boigny and the King of Morocco – relations perpetuated by all Ivorian Presidents.

It was a party in the streets, the Ivorians who had put away their vuvuzela and jerseys following the humiliating defeat against Equatorial Guinea brought them back out. In bars and restaurants customers ate and drank in the name of “god Morocco” who offered a round of 16 qualification to Ivory Coast.

Credit: AIPS Media 

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