Following the hosts’ incredible Africa Cup of Nations victory the previous evening, tens of thousands of ecstatic supporters flocked the streets of Abidjan for the Ivory Coast’s victory parade on Monday.
Similar to their previous AFCON victory in 2015, the Elephants prowled the streets of the nation’s financial hub.
To commemorate the Ivorians’ third championship, Sebastien Haller, who scored the game-winning goal in Sunday’s 2-1 victory over Nigeria, and the rest of the team were seated atop a truck with a three-star sign.
Fans gathered on bridges and avenues, many of them ignoring the intense heat to run alongside the winners’ mechanical chariot, as Monday was designated as a special holiday.Following a joyous four-hour procession, the team reached the Felix Houphouët-Boigny stadium under close police supervision.
The 2024 AFCON champions, donning “African champions” t-shirts, performed a lap of honour for throngs of enthusiastic spectators, many of whom were dressed in orange, the country’s official colour.The welcome given to them obviously touched some of the players.
As one of the spectators watching the national team’s incredible comeback from a dismal group stage, Junior Djedjess put it, “The overwhelming feeling is one of pride.”Only Egypt (seven titles), Cameroon (5), and Ghana (4) had better records in the continental showcase, he continued. “With three stars we have now joined the great African nations.
“The players performed a lap of honour before entering the field one by one. Max-Alain Gradel, the lone survivor of the 2015 Ivorian team that won the championship, and Serge Aurier presented the trophy to the assembled spectators.”
This African cup is for you, Ivory Coast. The 36-year-old captain presented the trophy to Prime Minister Robert Beugre Mambe after praying for God’s favour on the Ivory Coast.
This day was unimaginable three weeks ago, not even for the most devoted Elephants fan.Given that their 4-0 home loss to Equatorial Guinea on January 22 was their worst-ever defeat, they ought to have been eliminated in the group stage.
After their performance in the group stage, veteran French coach Jean-Louis Gasset—who had been in charge since May 2022—left the position.Emerse Fae, a former Ivorian international with no prior coaching experience, took over for him.
However, Fae oversaw a stunning turnabout in the team’s performance, as the Ivorians overcame a 1-0 deficit with 10 men to defeat Mali in the quarterfinals and came back from behind to defeat holders Senegal in the round of 16.
They successfully concluded their incredible journey on Sunday night against Nigeria, having defeated the Democratic Republic of the Congo 1-0 in the previous round.
Junior Djedjess said, “After that 4-0 loss, I was downhearted, but we were still in it and a new team was born.”The team’s festivities will continue on Tuesday when they are welcomed by Alassane Ouattara, the president of the nation.