- Jose Mourinho’s remarks on AFCON 2023 that ended on Sunday set the stage for a fierce debate
- Mourinho ardently followed the Africa Cup of Nations from the start to the end
- Ivory Coast won against Nigeria
Jose Mourinho’s remarks on AFCON 2023 which ended on Sunday set the stage for a fierce debate about football in Europe.
Mourinho ardently followed the Africa Cup of Nations from the start to the end and he was all praises for the African championship. It was the most electrifying football derby the world has ever seen with the biggest players going home early.
Morocco, Egypt and Senegal were tipped to progress to the last stages of the tournament but they fell off way too early. It was the host nation, Ivory Coast that carried the day in a 2-1 win over Nigeria.
Jose Mourinho’s Remarks on AFCON 2023
The outspoken Portuguese manager, set tongues wagging with his recent comments on the AFCON 2023. He stunned with his admission that he religiously watched AFCON matches more than any other European tournament.
His biggest takeaway home is the level of honesty and the right use of VAR which he hasn’t seen in Europe up to now.
“I have watched AFCON more than European football. They are simply teaching us to be honest. In AFCON VAR is used exactly the way it should be used,” he stated.
He continued by asserting that VAR in Europe is used as a money-making system by some big teams. They do not show any talent as they are supposed to and they are a mere tool for hire.
“They [CAF] do not use it to help the money magnet teams or famous teams. This is why you saw the best out of every team. Because they know VAR is not hired behind the scenes but is for everyone. They listen even to their Players if the Ref missed something and go check. In Europe if I as a coach or a player plead with a ref to go check something, it is a red card for doing that. The headquarters for VAR needs to be in CAF,” he stated.
Who Won AFCON 2023?
Ivory Coast claimed their third Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title after defeating their arch-rivals Nigeria 2-1. The Elephants, roared on by a passionate home crowd.
The final was a tense affair, with both teams prioritizing defensive solidity over attacking flair. Nigeria had the better chances in the first half, with Moses Simon and Victor Osimhen coming close.
But the Ivorian defense, marshalled by the experienced Serge Aurier, stood firm. Ivory Coast grew into the second half, but were unable to breach the resolute Nigerian backline.
Sebastian Haller secured the decisive goal with just eight minutes remaining, propelling the hosts from a one-goal deficit to clinch the title. It marked a monumental triumph for Haller, who returned to the sport last year following a six-month battle with testicular cancer.
Throughout the tournament, Haller’s participation was uncertain due to an ankle injury sustained while playing for Borussia Dortmund.
Despite facing setbacks, he persevered to regain fitness for the AFCON, only to suffer a recurrence of the injury during training with the Ivorian team. It wasn’t until after three matches that Haller truly made his impact felt.
His contributions proved pivotal for the team, notably scoring the lone goal in the semifinal victory over DR Congo and now the match-winner in the final against the Super Eagles.
For Ivory Coast, the journey epitomized a tale of courage, resilience, and seizing second chances. After suffering defeats in two group-stage matches, including a heavy 4-0 loss to Equatorial Guinea, their tournament prospects seemed bleak.
Yet, they narrowly advanced to the round of 16 as the fourth-best third-placed team, thanks to Morocco’s triumph over Zambia.
Their path to the final was fraught with challenges, often relying on late goals beyond the 90th minute to secure victories after trailing.
Despite the odds stacked against them, Ivory Coast persevered, displaying unwavering determination en route to the championship match.