The Ivory Coast’s AFCON 2023 dream has turned into a nightmare, with head coach Jean-Louis Gasset resigning in the wake of a humiliating 4-0 defeat to Equatorial Guinea. The Elephants, once seen as tournament favorites, now face the unthinkable: potential elimination in the group stage.
Gasset’s decision came after a scathing performance in Abidjan on January 22nd, where the home team looked disjointed and outmatched. Critics had already been questioning some of his tactical choices, and the Equatorial Guinea debacle proved too much to bear. He tendered his resignation to Ivorian Football Federation (FIF) president Yacine Idriss Diallo on the same night, and it was quickly accepted by Prime Minister and Sports Minister Robert Beugré Mambé.
With just group F games remaining, the Elephants find themselves in a desperate situation. Their fate will be decided on January 24th leaving them at the mercy of other results.
The pressure is immense. Elimination at this early stage would be a national disgrace, a massive blow to the host nation’s hopes and aspirations. It would also mark a disappointing end to Gasset’s tenure, which began in 2021 with high expectations.
Gasset’s replacement is a unique one: a trio of former Ivorian internationals – Émerse Faé, Alain Gouaméné, and Guy Demel. They take over with the seemingly impossible task of turning things around in a matter of days. Can they rally the demoralized Elephants and inspire a last-ditch fight for survival?
The coming hours will be crucial for Ivory Coast’s AFCON dream. The weight of expectation rests heavily on the shoulders of a Moroccan win. Only time will tell if they can save the Elephants from the brink of disaster.
Will the Elephants roar again, or will their AFCON journey end in a whimper? The answer lies just around the corner.