Home Sports AFCON 2023: it’s all festive in Abidjan after victory

AFCON 2023: it’s all festive in Abidjan after victory

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The city of Abidjan and several localities across Cote d’Ivoire experienced a jubilant night after the team’s 2-1 victory over Nigeria in the final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

Following the referee’s final whistle, the collective hysteria seen at the Olympic Stadium of Ebimpe in Abidjan spread to all districts of the city.

Several groups of people formed spontaneously, and parades marched along the city’s streets where one could see national flags and placards, and hear horns, whistles and music.

“We have come a long way. We went from debacle to miracle. The debacle against Equatorial Guinea who beat us with a humiliating score of 4-0 [in the tournament’s group stage] gave us further strength and we bounced back,” said Adolphe Kablan, president of the Abobo Elephants Supporters Committee.

“We didn’t believe it. But by a miracle we qualified and we even won the cup. Thank God,” added shopkeeper Abdoulaye Konate.

The same euphoria was seen across the country in regions such as Daloa (central-west), Boundiali (north), Logouale (west) and Aboisso (south-east).

“Here it’s total euphoria. The people have decided to stay alert and everywhere there is loud music, dancing and singing. It’s as if we were at a carnival,” said Anderson Kona, a local journalist in Daloa.

After previously winning AFCON in 1992 and 2015, Cote d’Ivoire thus took its third continental title after almost being eliminated in the group stage.

Things started well for the home team with a 2-0 win over Guinea-Bissau. But after a 1-0 defeat to Nigeria was followed by a humiliating 4-0 loss against Equatorial Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire only made it to the knockout stages thanks to Morocco’s defeat of Zambia, which ensured Cote d’Ivoire progressed by virtue of being one of the tournament’s four best third-placed teams.

After sacking head coach Jean-Louis Gasset and replacing him with assistant Emerse Fae, Cote d’Ivoire successively beat Senegal in the round of 16, Mali in the quarterfinals, and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the semifinal, before triumphing against west African rival Nigeria.

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