Emerse Fae, the caretaker coach of Cote D'Ivoire, candidly admitted being under intense pressure before the crucial showdown against Senegal in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON). The Ivory Coast team secured a place in the quarter-finals after defeating Senegal on penalties, overcoming initial setbacks in the competition.
Fae acknowledged the weight of the moment, stating, “There was a lot of pressure before the match, and match day was too long for me. I couldn't nap as usual, thinking about all scenarios. If I said there was no pressure, I would be lying.”
The coach highlighted that advancing through the group stage, particularly after Morocco's win, provided a boost in confidence before facing the defending champions. “Qualifying after Morocco's win gave us confidence. We beat Senegal and eliminated them; morale is good,” Fae shared.
However, Fae cautioned against complacency, emphasizing the need for the team to stay focused as tougher challenges lie ahead. “We must not stop here; we must continue working, maintain this morale, and keep playing match by match,” he asserted.
Despite the remarkable victory over Senegal, Fae remains determined to ensure that this giant-killing act is just the beginning of Cote D'Ivoire's quest for AFCON glory. The Elephants are set to face Mali in the quarter-final stage on Saturday, and Fae is keen on maintaining the positive momentum to advance further in the tournament.