The streets of Abidjan were the scene of wild celebrations on Wednesday night following the surprise qualification of the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire for the Round of 16 at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations.
Both the old, young, male and female thronged the streets chanting and expressing joy at the new development.
After their shocking group stage collapse, culminating in a humiliating 4-0 defeat to Equatorial Guinea, the odds were stacked against the hosts.
Their fate didn’t lie in their own hands, resting precariously on the outcome of other matches.
But Morocco did the Elephants a huge favour by beating Zambia 1-0 in San Pedro, making the impossible possible. Cote d’Ivoire are now in the knockout phase as one of the best four third-placed teams.
Before the lucky qualification, the Ivorian Football Federation (FIF) earlier on Wednesday released an official statement saying they had terminated the contract of 70-year-old French coach Jean-Louis Gasset and his assistant Ghislain Printant.
Gasset, who has coached for more than 35 years in France and Spain, took over in Cote d’Ivoire from Patrice Beaumelle in May 2022.
The drastic move by the AFCON hosts comes on the heels of a similar decision by the Ghana Football Federation who have also relieved Chris Hughton of his role as Black Stars’ coach after a poor outing in Cote d’Ivoire
Emerse Faé, a former Ivorian midfielder will now lead the Elephants through the knockout stages as they now have another chance to continue their fight for a third AFCON title.