This announcement commemorates the legendary Ivorian forward, Laurent Pokou, who achieved a historic feat during the 1970 AFCON.
Laurent Pokou is celebrated for his extraordinary performance in the 1970 AFCON, where he remarkably scored five goals during a 6-1 victory over Ethiopia. This outstanding achievement still stands as a record.
The unveiling of the official match ball, POKOU, follows the recent long-term partnership agreement between CAF and Puma, marking another significant milestone in the countdown to the commencement of the tournament.
During the Final Draw event, Erwan, the son of the late Laurent Pokou, had the honor of presenting this iconic and beautifully designed match ball to the audience.
The POKOU match ball creatively incorporates the three main colors of the Côte d'Ivoire flag, namely white, orange, and green. It also includes cutting-edge technology designed to revolutionize the game within the continent and beyond.
Erwan expressed the family's gratitude, saying, “This is an emotional moment for my family. It is a great honor bestowed on my late father who gave his life to Ivorian football, to have the official match ball for a tournament taking place in no other place than Cote d'Ivoire named after him.
The family appreciates the efforts by CAF and the Local Organising Committee (COCAN) to celebrate heroes and heroines to motivate and inspire future generations to follow in their exemplary steps.”
The TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations Côte d'Ivoire 2023 is scheduled to be held from January 13 to February 11, 2024, across various cities, including Abidjan, Bouake, Korhogo, San Pedro, and Yamoussoukro.
Laurent Pokou, affectionately known as L'homme d'Asmara, is widely recognized as one of the greatest players in the history of Ivorian football. In honor of his significant contribution to Ivorian football, one of the match venues for the tournament, San Pedro, is named the Laurent Pokou Stadium.
During his career, Pokou made his debut against Ghana in a friendly match in 1967, ultimately becoming the top scorer in the 1968 and 1970 Africa Cup of Nations.
His remarkable 14 goals in the Africa Cup of Nations were a longstanding tournament record until 2008 when Samuel Eto'o of Cameroon surpassed it.
Laurent Pokou, a legend of Ivorian giants ASEC Mimosas, also played for French clubs, including Stade Rennes and Nancy. He passed away on November 13, 2016, at the age of 69.