The drums of defeat are echoing through Ivory Coast as AFCON 2023 roars on, but instead of vibrant celebrations, it’s the sound of falling heads that dominates the headlines. Six coaches, six dreams shattered, one ruthless tournament claiming its victims.
Ivory Coast: Jean-Louis Gasset woke up on Tuesday with more than a throbbing headache after his Elephants were trampled by Equatorial Guinea. His ‘insufficient results’ contract left him with an unceremonious ‘bolted helmet’ goodbye courtesy of the Ivorian Football Federation. Emerse Fae, his former deputy, inherits the hot seat – a baptism by fire if ever there was one.
Gambia: Tom Saintfiet, the man who steered the Scorpions to their first-ever AFCON quarter-final in 2022, finds himself stung by the scorpion’s tail after a disappointing first-round exit. Five years at the helm, but the 2023 sand is just too hot for this Belgian, and he departs, leaving behind a bittersweet legacy.
Ghana: No surprises here. Chris Hughton, hired with hope, departs with disappointment. Three matches, two draws, one defeat – the Black Stars’ script remains unchanged, another early exit leaving Hughton’s tenure in the dust. The GFA hits the reset button, searching for a new captain to navigate this storm-tossed ship.
Algeria: Djamel Belmadi, once the hero, now the fallen king. The early 2021 and 2022 World Cup exits still fresh wounds, the Fennecs’ AFCON implosion proves the final straw. A handshake and a bittersweet “thank you” mark the end of an era, leaving Algerian football searching for solace and a new compass.
Tunisia: Jalel Kadri’s contract had a semi-final clause, a clause as sharp as a Tunisian dagger. The team falls in the first round, and the dagger finds its mark. Kadri steps down, his head held high, his pride intact, but his AFCON dream unfulfilled.
Tanzania: Adel Amrouche’s AFCON ended with a bang, the wrong kind. A 3-0 drubbing by Morocco, a verbal outburst against the Moroccan FA, and an eight-match suspension later, Amrouche finds himself both unemployed and fined. A cautionary tale of hot tempers and cold realities.
Six coaches, six stories of ambition met with reality. As AFCON 2023 marches on, these fallen soldiers serve as a stark reminder of the tournament’s unforgiving nature. For the remaining coaches, the pressure cooker awaits – can they survive the heat, or will they become the next names engraved on the wall of AFCON’s fallen heroes?