Top drawer, magnificent, fascinating all the adjectives or superlatives could fit into what has been and what is being described as the best Afcon now.

The one month African football feast has been influential beyond the boundaries with the 24 participating teams exhibiting great artistry of football for the world to see.

This is a tournament that will go down as one literally characterized by magic, miracles, drama and luck as those who even wrote themselves out emerged out of furnace to ascribe themselves with pride.

When it came down to the final the two teams Ivory Coast and Nigeria dished out a blistering contest to climax what has been an exhilarating tournament.

Nigeria would only be reminiscing how they could not lay their hands on the trophy whilst Ivory will be on a wonderland as to how they were able to write this storyline of fairytale with their group stage scenario.

But one thing is remarkable that is how local coaches in the last three editions have penned themselves into history by winning the Afcon for their country. Djamel Bemadi in 2019 , Aliou Cisse in 2021 and Emers Fae this edition.

Fae will be fated across Cote Di Voire for the heroic job he has executed. His stack effect on the team has been phenomenal following his take over from his boss after their near exit from the competition at the group stages.

But the twist of events to how he was able to change the Ivory Coast for this homes success would be the biggest achievement and a big feather in his cup.

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In front of a packed crowd, in the Alassane Ouattara stadium, Africa football was not short of glory. Over a billion dollars spent on this tournament and the supervision only give credence to a sparkling hosting of the 34th edition of the African football festival.

It has also been a tournament of great goals, great goalkeeping from the likes of Ronwen Williams from South Africa Stanley Nwabali from Nigeria and others. No surprise Ronwen Williams got the golden gloves eventually beaten Nigeria’s goalkeeper to it largely due to his penalty saving heroics.

There was no doubt about the player of the tournament as Nigeria’s captain William Troost Ekong became the victor. Troost Ekong had been the navigating point intersecting his team to the point of glory but failed to glorify themselves when it mattered most.

It has been a tournament of revelations from Mauritania, Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea and Namibia who became a leveler for some big teams. Is a tournament that has changed the narrative for these countries of being called a minnow to now a force to reckon with.

They will look back on the tournament to say they have indeed arrived and possibly not think themselves minnows no more.

There was nothing left to be desired as regard officiating as refereeing in this tournament has been beyond the salt. The referees were firm, objective and fair.

Without losing cognizance of the VAR, the video assistant referee in this competition has been used to the letter which has received great admiration from former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho. Suffice to say the officiating officials have been topnotch.

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Whereas, the likes of Ghana Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and to say Cameroon would wish to have next year’s cup of nation come early just so they can redeem themselves, Mauritania, Cape Verde, Namibia, Equatorial Guinea similarly would wish for an early Afcon to come reinstate their memorable performances at the 2023 Afcon.

After tales of miracles, slices of luck and drama Ivory Coast can well have their national elation. They also deserve a tap in the back for an incredible hosting and defying logic for their triumph.

We can’t wait for Morocco in 2025.

By Nana Yaw Bimpeh


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