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AFCON

Côte d’Ivoire hoping to make amends in heavyweight clash against Senegal –

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Côte D'Ivoire Hoping To Make Amends In Heavyweight Clash Against Senegal -

It’s all set. Defending champions, Senegal will come up against host, Côte d’Ivoire on Monday, 29 January at the Charles Konan Bani Stadium, Yamoussoukro for the Round of 16 clash of the Africa Cup of Nations Côte d’Ivoire 2023.

The game promises to be a tough encounter based on the ambitions of the two sides in the ongoing AFCON Côte d’Ivoire 2023. With the Elephants looking to correct the wrongs of the group stage, they will go all in.

The Teranga Lions qualified from their group unbeaten and will be hoping to continue with the same energy in the knockout stage.

Côte d’Ivoire wants to make up for their poor showing in the group stage, which they progressed with only 3 points as one of the best third-placed teams.

The Elephants will want to compensate their home fans for the poor showing in their last two games against Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea by eliminating Senegal and qualifying for the quarter finals.

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Aliou Cisse – Senegal coach

 “Our team is going through a good period after three matches, where we achieved good results in the group stage, and I am satisfied with it.  We are in a good state to focus. The statistics are there and I cannot change the past and the results. We are in the present, and we will remain focused. We are now in the eighth final, against a good Côte d’Ivoire team. We will play a very difficult match. If we win, we will continue the adventure, and if we lose, we will return home.

“We qualified with 9 points and the opponent with 3 points, this does not matter. Now a new competition has begun. Côte d’Ivoire remains a major team in Africa, they have good players. The defeat in their last two matches remain just an accident, they will show another performance in front of their fans.”

Moussa Nyakhate – Senegal defender 

“We worked well this week. We must remain focused on the way we play in defense and attack. We will remain focused on ourselves in the match, and our goal remains to win. The Côte d’Ivoire national team is good, and they have players with good potential, and we respect them a lot. The atmosphere is great within the Senegalese team. Everyone is in good condition. We have a wonderful group of veterans who are mentoring the young players.”

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Faye Emers – Côte d’Ivoire coach

“We prepared well for the Senegal match, and we will enter the match with confidence a lot of confidence. The players are motivated. I know the group well, and I have been with them for a year and a half. The players know what to expect from them in the Senegal match. We will enter the match with good confidence. We have worked well since I came to head the national team.  Côte d’Ivoire will remain Côte d’Ivoire even though we did not perform well in the group stage. If we ask Senegal which team, they want to face in the last 16, they will choose another team that occupied the best third place other than Côte d’Ivoire.

Jean-Michael Seri – Côte d’Ivoire midfielder 

“When you are competitive, you want to win the continental title, especially when you host the competition. In this competition, anything can happen. Things have now passed, and we must look into the future, where the match against Senegal awaits us. I do not want to talk about what happened. There will be a new competition within this competition in the knockout round, and we want to progress with the new coach, who is also a big brother to us.”

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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AFCON

African champions Cote d’Ivoire ring changes with new backroom staff

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Emerse Fae during the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations semifinal with DR Congo

Cote d’Ivoire head coach Emerse Fae has overhauled his backroom team following the Elephants’ Africa Cup of Nations, Cote d’Ivoire 2023, success earlier this year.

Fae, who took over from Frenchman Jean-Louis Gasset during the tournament in January, has brought in three new faces as he builds towards qualifying for the 2025 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations and 2026 World Cup.

Former Cote d’Ivoire goalkeeper Gerard Gnahouan, 45, joins as goalkeeping coach after working in this role with French Ligue 2 side Sochaux.

Gnahouan, capped 10 times by the Elephants between 2002 and 2011, takes over as goalkeeping coach and will be tasked with getting the best out of first-choice Yahia Fofana.  

Moroccan Samir Anba, previously with French club Nice and Morocco’s Under-17s, takes over as fitness coach, while Jeremy Antonio arrives as video analyst after working with Fae at French side Clermont.

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“This new composition of the technical staff marks the start of a new era for the Cote d’Ivoire national team, and expectations are high,” said Fae.

Fae kept faith with assistant Guy Demel while former international Alain Gouamene joins as the second assistant coach of the AFCON-winning team.

The 40-year-old led an all-local setup to a surprise African title in March after being promoted from Gasset’s number two following their near exit at the group stage.

The new backroom additions have a huge challenge ahead, with Cote d’Ivoire facing crunch matches in June as they bid to qualify for the 2026 World Cup.

The Elephants top their qualifying group after beating Gambia and Seychelles in the opening two matches  in Group F of the qualifiers under caretaker Gasset.

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-CAF

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Liberia, Eswatini hold upper hand in AFCON 2025 preliminary qualifiers –

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Liberia, Eswatini Hold Upper Hand In AFCON 2025 Preliminary Qualifiers -

After commanding victories in the first leg matches of the Africa Cup of Nations, Morocco 2025, qualifiers, Chad, Liberia, and Eswatini find themselves in advantageous positions as they gear up for the return fixtures scheduled for Tuesday.

As the second leg of the preliminary fixtures approach, all eyes will be on these teams as they vie for their coveted spots in the group phase of the qualifiers, with the hopes of making their mark on the continental stage.

Chad emerged victorious with a narrow 1-0 win over Mauritius, joining Liberia and Eswatini in the lead after their impressive triumphs earlier last week.

Liberia secured a 2-0 victory against Djibouti, while Eswatini displayed their dominance with a 3-0 win over Somalia.

The second leg promises to be fiercely contested, particularly for Chad, who will face a challenging encounter against Mauritius on the latter’s home turf.

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Coach Kevin Nicaise’s players are keen to defend their slender lead and secure their spot in the next phase of the qualifiers but the trainer admits they have an arduous task.

“We are far from perfect, far from being a top team in the world. We are in the construction phase. There are still things to work on and improve,” coach Nicaise said after their first-leg win.

“It is not overnight that we will be a top team in the world, we are aware of that, however we are working hard with the group and the staff to achieve this goal.”

Meanwhile, Liberia will host Djibouti, aiming to build on their first-leg success and seal their progression to the next round.

Eswatini will host Somalia with confidence, seeking to maintain their winning momentum and secure passage to the next stage of the tournament.

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South Sudan and Sao Tome and Principe will also face off in what is expected to be a closely contested encounter, following their goalless draw in the first leg.

With both teams eager for victory, the match promises to be a thrilling battle for supremacy.

-CAF

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AFCON

Liberia and Eswatini take control of AFCON preliminary ties

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Liberia and Eswatini take control of AFCON preliminary ties

Liberia and Eswatini took commanding leads in their respective Africa Cup of Nations, Morocco 2025, preliminary round ties after claiming impressive away victories on Wednesday.

Liberia captain Murphy Dorley scored one of two first-half goals as the Lone Stars defeated hosts Djibouti 2-0 in the opening leg in  Marrakech.

Mohammed Sangare broke the deadlock from the penalty spot on 23 minutes before Dorley coolly slotted home Sebastian Teclar’s cross 12 minutes later.

Djibouti struggled to lay a glove on their more illustrious opponents as the Lone Star side kept them at bay to take two away goals into next week’s second leg in Monrovia.

Eswatini were also celebrating after demolishing Somalia 3-0 in the Moroccoan  city of El Jadida to put one foot in the group stage qualifiers.

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Striker Sabelo Ndzinisa was the hero, netting twice either side of Felicio Figuareido’s 40th minute opener for the visitors.

Somalia now face an uphill battle to qualify when they travel to the Mbombela Stadium in the South African city of Nelspruit for the return on March 26th.

The opening leg victories give Liberia and Eswatini a huge advantage heading into the second legs as they target a place in the group stage on the road to next year’s finals in Morocco.

Back from the locker room, Somalia still couldn’t play its game.

Worse, Eswatini widened the gap with Ginindza who scored his double of the evening in the 56th minute. 3-0, the score remained unchanged on the scoreboard until the final whistle.

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Victory for Eswatini which will still have to perform in the return leg to ensure its qualification for the qualifiers.

 

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