AFCON 2023: Okocha Tips Ivory Coast to Qualify Despite Loss to Super Eagles

AFCON 2023: Okocha Tips Ivory Coast to Qualify Despite Loss to Super Eagles

Chukwu Ikechukwu
updated at January 19, 2024 at 12:52 PM
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A. A. Okocha
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  • Jay-Jay Okocha has backed Ivory Coast to reach the AFCON knockouts
  • The Elephants are in third place in Group A standings with three points
  • The AFCON hosts will play Equatorial Guinea in their final group game

Nigeria legend, Augustine Jay-Jay Okocha, is optimistic Ivory Coast can still qualify for the Round of 16 in the ongoing 2023 Africa Cup of Nations despite their loss to Nigeria.

Named as one of the favourites for the AFCON title, the Elephants were dealt a huge blow in front of their supporters after losing 1-0 to the Super Eagles, thereby putting their chance of qualification at risk.

Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Super Eagles, AFCON 2023, Okocha
Ivory Coast are third in Group A with three points from their first two games. Photo by Franck Fife.
Source: Getty Images

According to All Nigeria Soccer, Okocha has tipped the 2023 AFCON hosts to still go further in the competition despite being behind Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria in Group A with one game remaining.

“I think they still have a good chance of going far in the tournament. It is football, and you know anything is possible in football. Sometimes, you might need the defeat to bounce back; you might need to lose a game to correct your mistakes.”

Ivory Coast’s qualification still lies in their hands as the Elephants must defeat Equatorial Guinea in their final group game to guarantee a top-two finish in the group and book a spot in the Round of 16.

Ivory Coast manager calls for improvement

Meanwhile, Ivory Coast manager Jean-Louis Gasset has tasked his team to improve in their next game against Equatorial Guinea if they want to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations knockout stage, CAF Online reports.

The Elephants endured a disappointing 1-0 defeat against Nigeria in their second Group A fixture, leaving the hosts third in the group entering into the final matchday.

Although Gasset criticised his players for their inability to respond to the physical challenge against the Super Eagles, he expects an improved performance from his team in their final group game.

Ivorians criticise Elephants after loss

Earlier, Sports Brief reported that Ivory Coast's defeat versus Nigeria has been met with significant scepticism and criticism from Ivorian national team supporters and stakeholders.

This loss not only caused Ivory Coast to relinquish their position as Group A leaders, but also put their chances of advancing to the last 16 in jeopardy.

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Chukwu Ikechukwu
Chukwu Ikechukwu Godwin is a journalist with over 9 years of experience in the Nigerian media industry. He has worked both in Radio (Today FM, Rhythm FM, Wish FM) and Television (Silverbird TV) as a Sports Analyst..