AFCON 2023: Emerse Fae, the architect behind Ivory Coast’s dramatic comeback


In a stunning turnaround that has captivated the football world, Ivory Coast’s interim coach, Emerse Fae, has led his team from the brink of disaster to the semi-finals of the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations.

 Under his guidance, the Elephants have emerged “resurrected” from a challenging start, where they barely scraped through the group stages as one of the best third-placed teams, following defeats to Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria.

Fae’s leadership came into play following the dismissal of Jean Louis Gasset, who was let go after Ivory Coast’s harrowing 4-0 defeat to Equatorial Guinea, jeopardizing their automatic qualification for the knockout stages.

However, since taking the reins, Fae has inspired a remarkable turnaround, with the team showcasing their prowess by reaching the last four of the competition.

The pivotal moment of their campaign, as Fae puts it, was the aftermath of their defeat to Equatorial Guinea, describing it as a moment where the team was “dead.”

Yet, they found a new lease on life following their critical victory over Zambia, which paved the way for their sensational run to the semi-finals.

This journey included a victory against defending champions Senegal and a hard-fought win over Mali in a match that saw Ivory Coast play with a red card, demonstrating the team’s resilience and tactical acumen.

Fae, who experienced a rollercoaster of emotions during the Mali match, focused on strategic substitutions to secure their victory.

As they prepare to face DR Congo in the semi-finals, Fae remains cautious but optimistic, emphasizing the quality of the teams at this stage and the preparation required to succeed.

From being counted out after their group-stage performance to being on the cusp of a remarkable victory, Ivory Coast’s resurgence under Emerse Fae has been nothing short of miraculous. With their eyes now set on the trophy, the Elephants are ready to continue their incredible journey, proving that they are truly back from the dead.

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