Emerse Fae - Cote d'Ivoire coach
Emerse Fae - Cote d'Ivoire coach

'It's like a dream' - coach Faé says after Cote d'Ivoire qualified for AFCON final

Cote d'Ivoire coach Emerse Faé described reaching the TotalEnergies CAF AFCON final as being "like a dream" after masterminding a remarkable turnaround.

The Elephants looked down and out after thrashing by Equatorial Guinea in the group stage. But three straight knockout wins have booked an improbable final date with Nigeria. 

For Faé, appointed mid-tournament after Jean-Louis Gasset's sacking, this swift resurrection is a fantasy. "I am very happy, very moved, it's like a dream," he beamed after beating DR Congo 1-0.

Just weeks ago, the humiliation versus Equatorial Guinea left Ivory Cote d'Ivoire's campaign in tatters. Yet Faé was able to restore belief amidst the wreckage.

The Ivorian rallied his squad, utilising the full 27-man group. "I told the players: you are 27 players and I count on everyone," explained Faé after enacting his inclusive approach.

"If we want to win this competition, we will win it with all 27...I've been telling the players that everyone is important, including those in the stands, and they understood the message."

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This spirited unity has fuelled their march to the final against the odds. Faé has given the Elephants fresh impetus when they needed it most.

From potential catastrophe to Sunday's showdown with Nigeria, Faé has masterminded one of AFCON's greatest turnarounds. Now comes the chance to conjure another miracle. 

"We will take stock in the next two days, we will analyze Nigeria, even though we played them in the group stage, we will see the strategy to implement for the final," Faé noted.

Dreams may become reality if the Elephants maintain this momentum.

Faé's rescue mission could earn a fairytale ending by winning the AFCON on home soil.

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