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Hosts' zany triumph caps feral month at Cup of Nations in Cote d'Ivoire

© Pierre René-Worms/RFI

Squillions of West African CFAs later, the partisans got their bread at the circus on a sultry Sunday night 20 or so kilometres to the north of central Abidjan.

Cote d’Ivoire added a third Africa Cup of Nations trophy to the conquests of 1992 and 2015 amid the delirium at the Stade Alassane Ouattara and joy transporting the rest of the land.

The 82-year-old president, who munificently gave his name to the whitening elephant just outside the metropolis, will receive the heroes of Cup of Nations 2023 at a lavish celebration following a parade of the trophy through Abidjan.

A one-day national holiday on Monday will likely test the contours of the space/time continuum.

And the players deserve such largesse for their mental fortitude alone.

Humiliated on 22 January following the 4-0 loss to Equatorial Guinea – the worst home defeat in the team’s 64-year history, the Elephants – as they are nicknamed – needed Morocco to beat Zambia on 24 January in order to advance to the knockout stages of the tournament. Morocco obliged.

Once there and with head coach Jean-Louis Gasset replaced in favour of one of his assistants Emerse Faé, Cote d’Ivoire's unlikely lads scraped and fluked their way past Senegal and Mali who seemed intent on letting the inchoate mass survive despite ample opportunities to kill off the mess.

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