AFCON 2023: Ivory Coast Coach Emerse Fae Speaks After Eliminating Senegal

AFCON 2023: Ivory Coast Coach Emerse Fae Speaks After Eliminating Senegal

Edwin Kiplagat
updated at January 30, 2024 at 3:40 PM
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  • Ivory Coast stunned Senegal in the AFCON Round of 16 after beating them on penalties
  • The 2023 hosts were nearly out of the competition but will now play in the quarter-finals
  • Caretaker coach, Emerse Fae was given the responsibility to lead them and it was not easy

After a dreadful 2023 AFCON campaign, Ivory Coast rose from despair against Senegal to book their spot in the quarter-final.

The hosts were considered one of the favourites to win the tournament, but after their third game, their tournament was all but over.

On Monday night, their fate in the continental showpiece was on the line against favourites Senegal and they pulled off an upset.

Emerse Fae, Ivory Coast, Senegal, 2023 AFCON, Sadio Mane, Franck Kessie, Jean-Louis Gasset
Emerse Fae is looking to lead Ivory Coast to their third AFCON title. Photos by Selephanto (X) and MB Media.
Source: Getty Images

Coach, Jean-Louis Gasset was fired after the embarrassing defeat to Equatorial Guinea, but they had not exited the competition just yet, per the BBC. Emerse Fae took charge of the team.

They relied on a series of miracles, but their Round of 16 spot was confirmed after Morocco beat Tanzania. That win by the Atlas Lions was celebrated across the West African nation.

The Elephants headed into the Round of 16 match with Senegal without Gasset, and few people gave them a chance against an unstoppable Teranga Lions side, the defending champions.

They dominated most of the match, which ended in a 1-1 draw. The game went to penalties, and Ivory Coast emerged victorious. The win sparked wild celebrations across the country.

Their unforeseen resurrection overshadowed the impact of caretaker coach, Emerse Fae against Senegal.

Emerse Fae on replacing Gasset

Taking over a team in the doldrums during a tournament is taxing. His nervousness was conspicuous in Ivory Coast's clash with Senegal - he was under pressure.

"There was a lot of pressure before the match, and match day was too long for me. I couldn't nap as usual, thinking about all scenarios. If I said there was no pressure, I would be lying," Fae said per CAF.
"We must not stop here; we must continue working, maintain this morale, and keep playing match by match."

He gave his team a simple pep talk at half-time.

"We had a difficult start, conceding an early goal, but I told the players at half-time to keep playing the same way, not get confused," he said.

The two-time AFCON champions will face Burkina Faso or Mali in the quarter-final.

Kessi on Ivory Coast's win

Sports Brief earlier reported on Ivory Coast midfielder, Franck Kessie describing how they beat Senegal in the Round of 16.

The former Barcelona midfielder said they were well prepared to face a formidable opponent and mustered a major upset.

Kessie scored the equaliser and the decisive penalty and said that after the Morocco game, they had nothing left to lose.

Edwin Kiplagat photo
Edwin Kiplagat
Edwin Kiplagat has five years of experience in journalism working as a Sports Editor at Africa Insight Communications and ESPN. Edwin Kiplagat is a Bachelor's Degree holder in journalism from the Multimedia University of Kenya.