AFCON Final: Ivorian Journalist Identifies What Helped the Elephants Cage Nigeria’s Super Eagles

AFCON Final: Ivorian Journalist Identifies What Helped the Elephants Cage Nigeria’s Super Eagles

Babajide Orevba, Ero Samson
updated at February 13, 2024 at 11:54 AM
In this article:
CAF Africa Cup of Nations logo
Nigeria logo
Super Eagles logo
Super Eagles
South Africa
Ivory Coast logo
Cote DIvoire
Ivory Coast
William Troost-Ekong logo
W. Troost-Ekong
PAOK Saloniki logoDNigeria logo
Franck Kessié logo
F. Kessié
Al-Ahli SFC logoMIvory Coast logo
Sébastien Haller logo
Borussia Dortmund logoFIvory Coast logo
Ronwen Williams logo
R. Williams
Mamelodi Sundowns logoGSouth Africa logo
South Africa logo
South Africa
South Africa
Chancel Mbemba logo
C. Mbemba
Marseille logoDDemocratic Republic of the Congo logo
Democratic Republic of the Congo logo
DR Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations wrapped up with a thrilling final on February 11
  • Les Elephants of Ivory Coast clinched victory with a win vs. Nigeria's Super Eagles
  • An Ivorian journalist has explained why the host nation were able to go all the way

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) culminated in an electrifying final showdown between the host nation, Ivory Coast, and Nigeria's Super Eagles.

With the trophy at stake, the highly anticipated clash between two West African powerhouses delivered on its promise, captivating fans with a relentless display of goal-scoring opportunities.

Nigeria surged into the lead in the 38th minute, courtesy of a goal from their captain, William Troost-Ekong.

AFCON, Nigeria, Super Eagles, Ivory Coast, CAF, Kessie
Ivory Coast's Franck Kessie and Nigeria's Calvin Bassey battle for the ball during the Africa Cup of Nations final match in Abidjan. Image: Ulrik Pedersen.
Source: Getty Images

However, defying the odds and expectations, Ivory Coast mounted an extraordinary second-half comeback.

Goals from Franck Kessie and forward, Sebastien Haller, propelled them to a dramatic come-from-behind victory over the Super Eagles, securing the coveted title.

In the aftermath of this gripping encounter, an Ivorian journalist has shed light on the key factor behind Ivory Coast's triumph over Nigeria on that memorable night.

Ivorian journalist on AFCON final

In a conversation with Sports Brief, after his nation's triumph, journalist Yao Diby Mesmer touched on what drove Ivory Coast to victory.

Subtly emphasising the impact of the newly appointed manager, Emerse Fae, he remarked:

"I think Emerse Fae did a good job on the team, because when Equatorial Guinea defeated us [Ivory Coast], fans were very unhappy.
"However, when Fae was appointed, we got a new boost and strength to continue in the competition. The joy brought by the coach was something the team rode on, and now we are very happy, and we will party and party."

Mesmer's words perfectly encapsulate the narrative that unfolded with Les Elephants throughout the tournament.

Ivory Coast emerged from a challenging group stage to secure their first AFCON title in nine years, defeating a Nigerian side they had previously lost to earlier in the tournament.

Williams shines for South Africa

Sports Brief also reported on Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper, Ronwen Williams, seeing South African claim bronze at the AFCON with his heroic performance against DR Congo.

The 32-year-old saved two spot kicks, including a crucial one against Chancel Mbemba, to clinch victory for Hugo Broos’ side and was named Goalkeeper of the Tournament.

Babajide Orevba photo
Babajide Orevba
Babajide Orevba is a CAF accredited Nigerian journalist and HOD of the Local Desk with over 10 years of experience in media landscape.He studied NCE Political Science/Social Studies, AOCOED.
Ero Samson photo
Ero Samson
Samson Ero is a sports journalist with a track record of over five years in the Nigerian media industry. He graduated from Nigerian Institute of Journalism (2021-2023).