It turns out the zombie team really couldn’t be killed after all. The dead kid doesn’t fear the knife. Ghosts don’t feel pain. There was no way to prevent Ivory Coast from winning the Africa Cup of Nations for the third time. League formats excepted, no side had won a major tournament after losing twice, but it was more than those defeats by Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea in the group phase. Three times in the knockout stage they were behind and each time Emerse Faé’s side came back to prevail. Nobody could pretend this Ivory Coast team is one of the great sides, but this was one of the great tournament wins.
Nobody would set out to win a tournament this way, qualifying from their group as the fourth of four best third-place sides, sacking the coach, doing – at least if almost every player interview since is to be believed – a lot of looking in the mirror. But maybe this is the most fun way to win, amid chaos and disbelieving laughter and an inextinguishable will.
Written by Jonathan Wilson at the Stade Alassane Ouattara
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/football/2024/feb/11/nigeria-ivory-coast-african-cup-nations-afcon-final-match-report under the title “Haller the hero as Ivory Coast seal improbable Afcon win against Nigeria”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.