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Côte d’Ivoire players pay tribute to Morocco following AFCON title win

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The tournament saw an unexpected turn of events as Côte d’Ivoire, once on the brink of elimination, rose from the dead and ultimately secured the AFCON title.

Côte d’Ivoire players paid tribute to Morocco and waved its flag high after clinching the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium last night. The hosts, Côte d’Ivoire, secured a thrilling 2-1 victory over Nigeria in the tournament’s final.

The reason behind this gesture of gratitude lies in the remarkable journey of the Ivorian team throughout the tournament. Despite facing the prospect of a humiliating elimination from the group stage, Côte d’Ivoire found a lifeline thanks to the Moroccan national team.

Morocco’s 1-0 victory over Zambia in the final group match granted Côte d’Ivoire a spot in the round of 16. While the win allowed the Moroccan Atlas Lion to top Group F, it ensured the Ivorians’ qualification to the next round as one of the four third-placed teams.

But the tournament went on to witness a dramatic turn of events in the knockout stages as Côte d’Ivoire, once on the brink of elimination, rose from the dead and ultimately secured the AFCON title.

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At the final whistle of the Elephant’s impressive 2-1 win over Nigeria in the AFCON final, the scoreboards in the stadium displayed the Moroccan flag.

The scoreboard also flashed the message “See you in Morocco” in Arabic and English, in anticipation of the next AFCON that is set to be held in Morocco in 2025.

In addition, Ivorian players waved the Moroccan flag as they ran across the stadium to celebrate their victory. Winger Max-Alain Gradel also held the Moroccan flag while receiving his medal during the post-match ceremony.

In expressing such gratitude to Morocco, the Ivorian players appeared to acknowledge what both their fans and critics had rushed to point out after the host nation qualified for the round of 16: The Elephants’ redemption and eventual triumph would not have been possible without Moroccan generosity.

Off the pitch, meanwhile, Ivorian fans were also quick to join their players in expressing their joy and gratitude. Many took to social media to celebrate the victory and extend heartfelt thanks to Morocco. “Thank you, Morocco … Côte d’Ivoire is the champion of Africa,” one Ivorian fan commented on X, formerly Twitter.

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Throughout the competition, both Ivorians and Moroccans shared many moments of cultural harmony and joy.

The Ivorian Minister of Tourism honored several Moroccan influencers and vloggers for their efforts in bringing the two countries closer and fostering cultural exchange.

Among those celebrated were Saber Chawni and Zouber who shared a series of videos documenting their adventures in Côte d’Ivoire and sharing Ivorian culture, including the country’s cuisine, music, and dances.

-Morocco World News

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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