Emerse Fae expressed his indescribable joy at leading Ivory Coast to win the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament.
The Elephant staged a remarkable comeback to secure a 2-1 win over Nigeria at a packed Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Ebimpe on Sunday evening.
William Troost-Ekong netted the opener for the Super Eagles in the first half but second-half goals from Franck Kessie and Sebastien Haller turned the tide in favour of the host nation.
Addressing the media after the match to a resounding round of applause, Fae, who succeeded Jean-Louis Gasset, admitted it was surreal to go from the brink of elimination to clinching the title.
“It’s still sinking in. We experienced every emotion imaginable. This tournament will stay with me forever. I assumed leadership on my birthday, and we were on the verge of elimination. Yet, through the relentless effort of these players, fortunes turned, and today, they've been rewarded especially our loyal fans,” said the coach.
Fae also received the Best Coach of the Tournament award for showcasing tactical brilliance in steering the Elephants to a triumphant finish.
Meanwhile, Ivory Coast has been rewarded $7m as prize money for winning the tournament.