Cote d’Ivoire is looking for a final comeback “from the dead” when it duels with Nigeria this Sunday evening in the final of the African Cup of Nations at home in Abidjan.
The match will start at 20:00 GMT at Alassane Ouattara Stadium.
Cote d’Ivoire, which won the continental title in 1992 and 2015, started the current finals among the candidates, but it received one blow after another.
After defeating Guinea Bissau in the first round of the group stage (2-0), Cote d’Ivoire suffered a loss to Nigeria in particular, 1-0, in the second round, before suffering a humiliating defeat against Equatorial Guinea 0-4, which made the “Elephants” theoretically exit the group stage. With two losses.
Cote d’Ivoire’s slim hopes of qualifying were limited to the four best third-placed teams.
Mozambique came back from afar and tied with Ghana 2-2, then Morocco presented a gift to Cote d’Ivoire by defeating Zambia, so the “Elephants” qualified for the quarter-finals with the service of the “Atlas Lions.”
Following the dismissal of French coach Jean-Louis Gasset and the appointment of his assistant, Emerys Faillet, the Ivorian story continued with the elimination of defending champion Senegal on penalties, after a late equalizer from Saudi Al-Ahly midfielder Franck Kessier.
Another crazy episode was achieved in the quarter-finals, when the Ivorian team equalized with its Malian counterpart in the last minute despite playing at a disadvantage since the 43rd minute, then snatched the winning goal in stoppage time of the second overtime period.
While Cote d’Ivoire’s last confrontation with the Democratic Republic of Congo in the semi-finals was less tumultuous, and was decided by Sebastien Haller, who returned to the starting lineup after recovering from injury.
The interim coach of the Cote d’Ivoire national team, Faye, who retired at the age of 28 due to a phlebitis and had never coached any team, said, “I told the players that we died after the loss to Equatorial Guinea, and we rose again after Morocco’s match with Zambia.”
The Cote d’Ivoire national team, which is competing in the fifth final in its history, became the first country to lose by four goals (to Equatorial Guinea 0-4) and then reach the final, since Nigeria in 1990 (1-5 to Algeria).
Faye’s men will not be outing in the final against Nigeria, the three-time champion (1980, 1994, 2013) who is competing in the eighth final.
In the current edition, the “Excellent Eagles” team was distinguished by the solidity of its defence, as coach Jose Pistro’s players conceded twice in five matches, noting that they beat Cote d’Ivoire specifically 1-0 in the group stage.
Led by Victor Osimhen, Napoli’s Italian top scorer and the best player on the African continent in 2023, Nigeria, which failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup, scored seven points in the first round, then got rid of difficult obstacles in the qualifying rounds, such as Cameroon (2-0), Angola. (1-0) Then South Africa on penalties.
Syrian weightlifter Maan Asaad wins gold in the Asian Championship and qualifies for the Paris Olympics
Syrian weightlifter Maan Asaad qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympics, after winning the gold medal on Saturday at the Asian Weightlifting Championship for the 109 kg category, which was held in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent.
Asaad (30 years old) won the gold medal in the shot put by lifting 252 kg, the silver medal in the snatch by lifting 192 kg, and the gold medal in the group with 444 kg, breaking the Asian record.
This is the first Asian title in the career of Asaad, who previously won gold medals in the Arab Games and the Mediterranean Games.
Asaad had won the only bronze medal for Syria at the Tokyo Olympics in the summer of 2021, with a weight of +109 kg, with a group of 424 kg.