AFCON 2023: Ivorian coach has faith in ‘resurrected’ Elephants
Cote d'Ivoire stop-gap coach Emerse Fae says his side felt "resurrected" at the Africa Cup of Nations after overturning their disastrous start to remarkably reach the semi-finals.
The Elephants only qualified from the group stage as one of the best third-placed teams after defeats to Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria.
Fae was named to take charge of the team on an interim basis after coach Jean Louis Gasset was sacked for the host nation's disastrous start to the competition.
The hosts failed to secure automatic qualification to the tournament's knockout stage when it was beaten 4-0 by Equatorial Guinea in its final group game which led to the sacking of the Frenchman.
The side looks to have turned the corner after Fae took over and has now steered the side to the last four.
But Fae revealed: "I told the players we were dead after the defeat against Equatorial Guinea, and we were resurrected after the Morocco game with Zambia."That lifeline allowed Cote d'Ivoire to stun defending champions Senegal and overcome 10-man Mali after extra time to set up a semi-final with DR Congo.
Fae admitted experiencing a whirlwind of emotions during the dramatic Mali win. "I had all the emotions running through my head, trying to reflect to see the ideal substitutions," he said.
With the Elephants excelling after being written off, Faé is taking nothing for granted ahead of facing DR Congo.
"When you reach the semi-finals, you play with teams of high quality, so we are going to prepare ourselves," the coach asserted.
After the embarrassment of the group stage, Faé has masterminded a remarkable reversal of fortunes.
His resurrected Elephants now stand just two games from incredibly winning the tournament.