Equatorial Guinea was eliminated in the round of 16, but Emilio Nsue remains the top scorer of the African Cup. Two of his five goals were scored in the thrashed Ivory Coast (4-0) in the last match of the first phase. The Ivorian Federation could not bear the humiliation, it saw itself out of the championship and it did not take long to dismiss the coach, the Frenchman Jean Louis Gasset, without waiting for all the matches in the first phase to finish.
The Ivorian leaders did not trust that results such as the 2-2 draw between Ghana and Mozambique and the victory of Cameroon (2-3) against Gambia after the Gambians took the lead in the 85th minute, would put them in in the round of 16 as the worst of the four best third parties.
He arrived at the crossroads with two defeats in the first phase and without a coach. To occupy the bench They asked the French Federation to release Hervé Renard, current women's coach French and with a long journey in Africa and Asia that led him to win the African Cup with Zambia and the Ivory Coast and to be the only coach to defeat Argentina in the World Cup in Qatar under the command of Saudi Arabia. France refused and Ivory Coast found a solution in Emerse Fae, a 39-year-old former international with no experience on the professional bench. Until now he had only coached the Nice youth team and the Clermont reserve team, which plays in the french fifth division.
Fae has managed to right a team that was faltering and after defeating Senegal, the current champion, on penalties in the round of 16, beating Mali in the quarterfinals and Democratic Republic of the Congo (1-0) in the semifinals. To make the story complete, the goal against Congo was scored by Sebastian Haller.
The Borussia Dortmund footballer is an example of commitment to the Ivorian team. He played with all the French national teams in the youth categories, but chose to defend the shirt of his mother's country at senior level.
By the way He has overcome testicular cancer that stopped him in 2022. Haller could not play in the first phase due to injury. The one he scored against Congo is his only goal in this championship. With Dortmund he has not had much more success, he has only scored two goals in the Cup against Schott Mainz, a Fourth Division team.
The legends are written like this. But to complete this, Ivory Coast must beat Nigeria in the finala rival against whom I already lost in the group stage (1-0) and the one led by the Portuguese Jose Peseiro, Queiroz's former assistant at Real Madrid. "Now it will be another game," he says.