Makeni, SIERRA LEONE – Former Ivorian International and Reading Football Club player, Emerse Fae, has been named as the interim head coach of the Ivory Coast’s senior national men’s team, known as “The Elephants.” This announcement comes following the termination of contracts for the previous coaching staff, led by Jean-Louis André Lucien Gasset and his first assistant coach Ghislain Marie Joseph Printant, due to insufficient results in the ongoing 34th AFCON hosted in Côte d’Ivoire.
Emerse Fae, a midfielder who made 41 appearances for the Elephants between 2008 and 2011, takes on the interim coaching role after a career that ended prematurely in 2012 due to Phlebitis. Before his appointment, the 40-year-old was the second assistant coach for the two-time AFCON winners, Côte d’Ivoire.
The termination of the 70-year-old French head coach, Gasset, and his assistant came after the Elephants failed to meet their primary contract objective of reaching at least the finals of the AFCON 2023, which they are hosting.
The Ivory Coast, after an opening win over Guinea Bissau, suffered successive defeats to Nigeria (1-0) and Equatorial Guinea (4-0), finishing third in Group A. The host’s humiliating 4-0 defeat to Equatorial Guinea, coupled with their overall performance, has raised concerns about their qualification for the round of 16, even if they progress as one of the best four group stage losers.
Côte d’Ivoire, with three points, would now have to play to restore their pride if they eventually qualify when they meet holders Senegal in the round of 16 on Monday.
Veteran sports journalist Coulibaly Zana, covering his fourth Africa Cup of Nations in his home country, expressed disappointment over the national team’s performance. Zana highlighted the lack of commitment and team spirit in the last two group stage matches, expressing doubt about further progress in the tournament.
Commenting on the appointment of Emerse Fae as interim head coach, Zana believes it could reenergize the players and bring a competitive edge to the team. However, he remains cautious about their future in the tournament, especially if they face Senegal, a determined and defending champion. ARW/25/1/2024