2023 Africa Cup of Nations: Emerse Fae wins Best Coach Award after leading Côte d’Ivoire to glory

Published on: 12 February 2024

Emerse Fae has been honored as the Best Coach of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations for his instrumental role in leading Côte d’Ivoire’s remarkable revival during the tournament.

The 40-year-old former international player took charge as caretaker coach after the host nation faced near elimination from the competition, suffering a 1-0 defeat to Nigeria and a humiliating 4-0 loss to Equatorial Guinea.

Under Fae's guidance, Côte d’Ivoire staged an impressive turnaround, eliminating defending champions Senegal in the round of 16, overcoming Mali with a sensational comeback victory in extra time during the quarterfinals, and securing a comfortable win over DR Congo in the semifinals.

In the final showdown at the Alhassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan, the Elephants staged a memorable comeback to secure a 2-1 victory over favorites Nigeria.

Despite William Troost-Ekong putting Nigeria ahead late in the first half with a powerful header, Franck Kessie equalized in the 62nd minute before Sebastian Haller netted the winning goal from Adingra's cross.

Capping off a remarkable journey to the final, which saw the departure of coach Jean-Louis Gasset after two group stage defeats, Côte d’Ivoire clinched their third continental title with a well-deserved victory.

This triumph not only adds to the Ivorians' previous Nations Cup wins in 1992 and 2015 but also marks a historic moment as they become the first tournament hosts to triumph since Egypt lifted the trophy in 2006.