Faé in tears, Drogba on fire, Gradel thanks Morocco: scenes of jubilation after the victory of Ivory Coast

It’s a joy worthy of the crazy tournament they just won. After another crazy match in the final against Nigeria and a saving goal from Sébastien Haller in the last minutes, Ivory Coast won its third African Cup of Nations in a melting Alassane Ouattara stadium in Abidjan.

Just after the final whistle, the jubilation is total. Emerse Faé, the interim coach who took over the reins of the selection in the middle of the competition, burst into tears as he fell into the arms of his deputy, Guy Demel. The players, for their part, struggle to achieve this and all kneel together in the central circle.

The former glory of the Elephants, Didier Drogba, himself winner of the CAN on the field in 2015, also explodes with joy. Very quickly, he finds himself on the field among the current players to celebrate the victory. The images are magnificent and provide a nice link between the golden generations of Ivorian football.

The atmosphere in the stadium is festive and the (yet) long minutes which preceded the presentation of the trophies undoubtedly passed like seconds for the Ivorians present in the stadium. At 10:50 p.m. local time, 11:50 p.m. in Paris, the time to exult has finally arrived. Exemplary captain, Max Alain Gradel, already winner in 2015, can advance on the official podium to lift the trophy. Next to him, the President of the Ivorian Republic, Alassana Ouattara, came down from the official platform to enjoy this moment of communion and be in the photo of this moment of eternity.

The end of a crazy tournament and the last lines of a novel that only sport can write. Not even a fortnight ago, without a victory for Morocco in a match with no real stakes for them against Tanzania, Ivory Coast would have been pitifully eliminated in the group stages. Who remembers it today? At least Gradel, who just before going on the podium brandished a Moroccan flag as a thank you, before going around the field with it. The captain of the Elephants does not have a short memory.


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