Côte d'Ivoire's interim coach managed to win the African Cup after just a few days in the job

Emerse Faé achieves feat with Côte d'Ivoire

El delantero de Costa de Marfil Max-Alain Gradel levanta el trofeo de la Copa Africana de Naciones en el podio después de que Costa de Marfil ganara la Copa Africana de Naciones (CAN) 2024. Último partido de fútbol entre Costa de Marfil y Nigeria en el estadio olímpico Alassane Ouattara en Ebimpé, Abijan, el 11 de febrero de 2024 - AFP/FRANKCK FIFE
photo_camera Ivory Coast striker Max-Alain Gradel lifts the Africa Cup of Nations trophy on the podium after Ivory Coast won the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN). Last soccer match between Ivory Coast and Nigeria at the Alassane Ouattara Olympic stadium in Ebimpé, Abidjan, on February 11, 2024 - AFP/FRANKCK FIFE

Côte d'Ivoire won their third Africa Cup of Nations after beating Nigeria 1-2 in the final in a tight match that was decided in the last minutes by the team coached by Emerse Faé, who took over the national team just before the round of 16.  

  1. Côte d'Ivoire's sporting milestone with a circumstantial coach
  2. Exciting finale

Côte d'Ivoire's sporting milestone with a circumstantial coach

Côte d'Ivoire hosted the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations and managed to win the title in front of their enthusiastic fans after an eventful tournament in which coach Jean-Louise Gasset was sacked after being all but eliminated from the group stage. In the end, a series of results saw the Côte d'Ivoire team reach the Round of 16, with Gasset already sacked and his assistant coach in charge of the team with little experience in the dugout.  

Emerse Faé was coming from a career as a manager of modest Clermont Foot 63 B in his native France, after a playing career that included spells at Nantes, his hometown, Nice, and Reading in England. He decided to play for the Ivory Coast national team, where his parents are from, despite having played in the lower categories of the French national team. He even played for Côte d'Ivoire at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Finally, he ended up as assistant coach to Jean-Louise Gasset for this Africa Cup and had to take over the management of the national team after the departure of the French coach due to poor results.  

El presidente de Costa de Marfil, Alassane Ouattara, levanta el trofeo de la Copa Africana de Naciones en el podio después de que Costa de Marfil ganara el partido de fútbol final de la Copa Africana de Naciones (CAN) 2024 entre Costa de Marfil y Nigeria en el estadio olímpico Alassane Ouattara en Ebimpé, Abijan, el 11 de febrero de 2024
- AFP/FRANCK FIFE
Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara lifts the Africa Cup of Nations trophy on the podium after Ivory Coast won the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) final soccer match between Ivory Coast and Nigeria at the Alassane Ouattara Olympic stadium in Ebimpé, Abidjan, on February 11, 2024 - AFP/FRANCK FIFE

Exciting finale

The match played at the National Stadium of Côte d'Ivoire, also known as the Olympic Stadium of Ebimpé, in front of just over 60,000 fans was the fifth Africa Cup of Nations final for Côte d'Ivoire, who won their third trophy against Nigeria after a very exciting final in which the "green eagles" took the lead and the "elephants" were finally able to come back in the final stretch.  

Côte d'Ivoire were generally superior against a tough Nigerian side, coached by Portuguese coach José Peseiro, who had only conceded two goals in the entire tournament.  

The Nigerians took the lead in the 38th minute when William Troost-Ekong headed home from a long ball into the box

William Troost-Ekong anota su primer gol 
- REUTERS/SIPHIWE SIBEKO
William Troost-Ekong scores his first goal - REUTERS/SIPHIWE SIBEKO

Things were getting tough for the home side, with the home side suffering in the stands, as evidenced by the images of ex-footballer and home star Didier Drogba bemoaning the chance that was slipping away. 

But then came the Ivorian reaction, thanks to ball control and positional dominance. In the 62nd minute, the home side drew level through Franck Kessie's header from Simon Adingra's fine delivery from a corner.

El delantero de Costa de Marfil Sébastien Haller durante el último partido de fútbol de la Copa Africana de Naciones (CAN) 2024 entre Costa de Marfil y Nigeria en el Estadio Olímpico Alassane Ouattara en Ebimpé, Abijan el 11 de febrero de 2024
- AFP/FRANCK FIFE
Ivory Coast striker Sebastien Haller during the final soccer match of the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) between Ivory Coast and Nigeria at the Alassane Ouattara Olympic Stadium in Ebimpé, Abidjan on February 11, 2024 - AFP/FRANCK FIFE

Simon Adingra then provided a second assist for striker Sebastien Haller to beat the centre-backs and score in the 81st minute to give Côte d'Ivoire their third Africa Cup of Nations title as hosts, something they had not achieved since Egypt in 2006.  

The role of the Borussia Dortmund striker is also noteworthy, who after returning to play last year after overcoming testicular cancer has lifted this important trophy with Côte d'Ivoire.

Esta fotografía muestra el trofeo antes del último partido de fútbol de la Copa Africana de Naciones (CAN) 2024 entre Costa de Marfil y Nigeria en el Estadio Olímpico Alassane Ouattara en Ebimpé, Abijan
- AFP/FRANCK FIFE
This photo shows the trophy before the final soccer match of the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) between Ivory Coast and Nigeria at the Alassane Ouattara Olympic Stadium in Ebimpé, Abidjan - AFP/FRANCK FIFE

The Ivorian national team won its third African championship title (1992, 2015 and 2024), drawing level with Nigeria on the list of winners and one title behind Ghana, which has four, although still some way behind the seven titles of Egypt, the country with the most championships, and the five of Cameroon.