Cote d’Ivoire caretaker coach, Emerse Fae, says he aims to ensure that the Africa Cup of Nations trophy stays at home at the end of today’s final against Nigeria’s Super Eagles.
Tonight, the two West African nations will clash at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium, Ebimpe, in a showdown for the continent’s most prestigious football prize.
Fae’s leadership has marked a remarkable turnaround for the Ivorian team, stepping in after the resignation of Frenchman Jean-Louis Gasset following a dismal start to the tournament with defeats against Nigeria (1-0) and Equatorial Guinea (4-0) in the group stage.
Ahead of the final, Fae exudes confidence, stating that Nigeria holds no inherent advantage over his Ivorian squad. For him, this presents an ideal opportunity to secure their third AFCON trophy on home soil.
“We can keep the cup at home”, Fae said at the pre-match press conference. “On Sunday, we will be 90 minutes away from adding a third star to the orange jersey of Côte d’Ivoire”
“The fact that Nigeria had beaten us is good because we know whom we are against. How we prepare for the match with our players is critical. I think that the Super Eagles and ourselves are at the same level.
“We have a great opportunity; we are 90 minutes away from adding a third star to the Ivorian jersey. The teams are on equal footing, psychologically. As the competition has progressed, the Nigerian team has gained strength. We had a challenging journey at the beginning, but we gained momentum from the round of 16 against Senegal.”
“Like any high-level match, like any final, it will come down to the details. We will focus on starting the match well and patiently unsettle them.”