A perfect start for Cote d’Ivoire, with a glorious colourful lit up in Abidjan
An electric opening ceremony kicked off the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations Cote d’Ivoire 2023 in thrilling style on Saturday night in Abidjan.
A capacity 60,000 crowd at the Alassane Ouattara Olympic Stadium soaked up the colours and culture of Cote d’Ivoire ahead of the tournament opener between the hosts and Guinea Bissau. The celebration featured singers, acrobats and dancers in a vibrant showcase of Ivorian tradition and African unity.
Fireworks in the Ivorian national colours lit up the Abidjan sky at the end of the ceremony to launch Africa’s biggest football party in spectacular fashion. The stunning spectacle whipped fans into a frenzy moments before kick-off as the continental showpiece got underway.
Cote d’Ivoire began their TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations campaign in style by beating Guinea-Bissau 2-0 in Saturday night’s opening match in Abidjan.
The Elephants wasted no time asserting dominance on home soil, taking the lead after just four minutes through Seko Fofana. The Lens midfielder pounced on a loose ball outside the box and unleashed a superb strike beyond goalkeeper Jonas Mendes.
Fofana almost grabbed a second but saw his powerful effort cannon off the crossbar on 35 minutes as Cote d’Ivoire ended the first half on top. Guinea-Bissau posed an occasional threat on the counter but the Ivorians remained firmly in control after the break.
The hosts deservedly extended their advantage just before the hour mark when substitute Jean-Philippe Krasso acrobatically fired home after great work from Jonathan Bamba.
Krasso’s clinical finish put the result beyond doubt as ICote d’Ivoire confidently saw out victory in their tournament opener. The Elephants face a sterner test in their next Group A match against three-time champions Nigeria on Wednesday.
But on the evidence of this composed performance, Cote d’Ivoire have the quality in depth to target long-awaited continental glory on home soil. The hosts will be relying on the likes of Fofana, and in-form striker Sebastien Haller during the tournament.
Based on this opening display, that array of talent could take Cote d’Ivoire all the way to the AFCON 2023 crown. [Source: CAF]