AFCON 2023: What They Are Saying In Cote D’Ivoire Camp Ahead Of Final Clash With Nigeria - 247Updates
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AFCON 2023: What they are saying in Cote D’Ivoire camp ahead of final clash with Nigeria

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In preparation for the highly anticipated final game of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) between host, Cote D’Ivoire and three time winners, Nigeria, the coach of the Elephants, Emerse Fae an striker, Sebastien Haller spoke with journalists in Abidjan on Saturday.…CONTINUE READING

The gaffer spoke on the possibility of winning their third AFCON title on home soil.

“Yes it is true. We have a beautiful opportunity tomorrow to keep the cup at home. We know it is hard to win a tournament you are hosting at home. We are prepared today to achieve this exploit to add to our star,” Fae said.

“Talking about the psychological aspect. Nigeria had a near perfect tournament after a draw with Equatorial Guinea and became more stronger defensively and offensively. On our side we had a different start and became stronger at the Round of 16 against Senegal before winning Mali and became more confident against DR Congo. In the final, details matter. We will try our best to wear them out tactically. The final is 90 minutes. We know that there will be pressure on both sides.

“It is hard to reach the final and to feel as though you don’t deserve to be there. We do deserve to be here. The most important thing after the group stage is to rediscover our confidence. The technical staff is to build the team spirit. I won’t say we thought of getting to the final. We were focussing on the game at time and focused on winning the next game.

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“We had a meeting with the technical team. We had idea of the skeleton on the team that will start tomorrow. We have few injuries against DR Congo. We will access the squad after today’s last training session to know the players that will play. It is a group of 27 players, they are all together as a collective group to win. We have broad team. All of these players are useful.

“That’s a tough question. The easy answer is no. I am not a special one. I am fortunate to know the team for about two years now. When we took over, we knew the players well. We tried to focus on building this team chemistry. I haven’t invented anything but doing the most basic thing. The most important thing is the group and making sure that all players feel important and equal to feel that they are on the same playing field. I don’t think I am a special coach.

“No, irrespective of the game, we think alot with the technical team. The fact that Nigeria beat us in the group stage. We know the team we are playing against. We are going to focus on our strengths, weaknesses and see how we can get a win.

“Disappointment, no because I will still have the cup at home. After tomorrow’s game, we will relax and think about the future. Right now, we are now focused on the final tomorrow. What happens after that doesn’t matter and we are not thinking about that.

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“You know motivation comes from every end. When we look at what happens from statistics, we draw hope from all of that to prepare for tomorrow and find the right behavior that will allow us win the trophy. That’s our extra source of motivation to make us get the trophy.

“For the group and staffs before we made this list we though of whether or to call up Adingra or Haller. We knew that they won’t start but decided to call them as we were aware that we will need them in the latter round of the competition. They have played pivotal roes scoring in the quarter and semi final. We are very happy having our fire powers back.

“I believe the main lesson from our last game against Nigeria is that in this competition you have to expect the unexpected. We prepared based on what was happening recently. Nigeria changed formation which took us apart. We had to be ready to have tactical dispensation that could change for tomorrow’s game. We will try to challenge them, control the game, patient at the beginning and focus on our strengths.” He concluded.

Ivorian forward, Sebastien Haller is seeing a different match from the group stage where Nigeria edged them 1-0.

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“I believe it is both an advantage for Nigeria and Cote D’Ivoire. Group stage match and a final match are different thing. Preparation will be different and we will see how tomorrow will be,” Haller stated.

“I am expecting a tough game obviously. We also know the way Nigerians play. It is going to be a physically demanding game. It is up to us to give them problems and utilize their weaknesses. Even though the defenders have similar physique as I am, we will make sure we play a great game tomorrow.

“Yes, we have come from far. Everyone realize that we went through trying times after that defeat to Equatorial Guinea. We came from far so we don’t have much to lose. We just want to give our all. We were fortunate to have a second chance and give our all. We were More tightly knitted after facing the nightmare of almost exiting the tournament.

“Well, Cote D’Ivoire went through trying times that has made us stronger. What doesn’t kill you make you stronger. That’s what has changed from the group stage. The mindset also changed. We are doing this for our country. It is such a great objective that we have to amend the things that are basic in our view.

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“To be honest, it wasn’t always easy. I have decided to spend my vacation in Cote D’Ivoire to prepare for this AFCON. I am fortunate to have a family and country with teammates that are supporting me. When you feel that you are important and given that strength everyday to see that you are not wasting your time. I have been working with the medical team and want to contribute to this AFCON at home. Everything was a motivation to me. All the energy invested by everyone give you the motivation to excel.

“Yes of course I feel the pressure. I am a striker. Everything that pertains to scoring goals. This pressure have to be taken by everyone. Strikers are always in front. It is a good pressure with lot of people supporting you everyday. I hope this good pressure brings my country to the top.

“I a quite tired of it. It has been a challenging year. I have this mindset that something must be happy in anything one does. It is kind of a great moment today to speak about the AFCON final at home. It will take a few months and a year to realize what has happened.

“First of all, it is also a way to materialize our domination. We felt that we had started on the front foot. The goal made the game easier for us. It was a bit of relief. When you score, it is a thing of joy. I was in the stands at the beginning of the tournament and understand the stress from fans. It is great to receive the reward for all of the efforts put in on a daily basis.

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“Ivorians on the streets and at home supporting us gave us that atmosphere. At the stadium, it will be very unbelievable as everyone will be supporting us. We expect what we haven’t seen before to experience this unique atmosphere and moment.” He concluded.

A win for Cote D’Ivoire on Sunday will make them equal Nigeria in three AFCON titles.

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