Hosts Ivory Coast are planning a different approach aimed clipping the wings of now dreaded Super Eagles in Sunday’s final of the 34th AFCON.
The two teams met in the group stage of the tournament on January 18 with the Eagles running away with a deserved line goal victory.
Recall that the Elephants almost crashed out in the group stage as they finished third with just three points in three games after two defeats and one win.
Fortunately, they qualified for the round of 16 as one of the four best third-placed teams. Before then, they had sacked Coach Jean-Louis Gasset, who finished the group stage with them.
Hence, his assistant coach, Emerse Fae, a retired Ivorian international, was appointed as the team’s caretaker coach on January 24, 2024, after they failed to appoint France women’s national team coach, Herve Renard, on loan.
From that point on, the Ivorian side have been enjoying a smooth run in the tournament, knocking out Senegal via penalties in the round of 16, beating Mali 1-2 in the quarter-finals, and knocking out DR Congo 1-0 in the semi-final on Wednesday, February 7.
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At the Alassanne Quattara Stadium, Ebimpe, Abidjan, on Sunday, February 11, the 40-year-old coach Fae will attempt to make a name for himself in coaching by helping the Ivorian side to beat Nigeria in the 2023 AFCON.
Ivory coast coach Emerse Fae seeks revenge
To achieve that, the coach noted that he and his team would have to analyze the Super Eagles, who are yet to lose a game in the tournament.
He said, “We will take stock in the next two days, we will analyze Nigeria, even though we played them in the group stage, we will see the strategy to implement for the final.”
Both teams are not strange fellows having met clashed 28 times in different categories of competition including friendly matches. The two teams boast of 9 wins each with 10 of the games ending in a draw. Sunday’s final promises to be full of fireworks and will demand a lot of wits. After a near crash out situation the hosts will be coming out in full force backed by a voiceferous home crowd a scenerio which the Super Eagles are already used to.