In a very intense game that had football fans across the African continent gripping the edge of their seats, the Elephants of Ivory Coast beat the Super Eagles of Nigeria 2-1 to become the champions of the 2023 African Cup of Nations.
The Super Eagles led at halftime through captain William Troost-Ekong, despite appearing second-best through the first half-hour, but the hosts would not be denied for long. Franck Kessie deposited a header off a corner past the hour mark to level the score, and Haller’s flick gave the Elephants the lead with under 10 minutes remaining.
Ivory Coast beat DR Congo 1-0 in the semifinal thanks to Sebastian Haller, who was starting his first game of the tournament.
Many critics have described Ivory Coast’s win as well-deserved given their impressive performance throughout the tournament.
IVORY COAST AT AFCON
Although Ivory Coast made their AFCON debut in 1965, it took them several years before they established themselves as a strong team in the competition and on the African continent.
They won their first AFCON title in 1992 in Senegal. The final which was against Ghana was decided by a dramatic penalty shootout, with the Ivorians winning 11-10. This victory set them on a path to becoming one of the big names in African football.
Following that win, the team did not make any strides in the tournament until 2006 and 2012 when they went into the finals but were runners-up on both occasions, losing to Egypt and Zambia respectively, each time in penalty shootouts.