Ivory Coast fires Gasset as coach despite team’s chance to reach Africa Cup last 16
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — Ivory Coast coach Jean-Louis Gasset was fired on the same day the team qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations knockout stage.
The Ivorian Football Federation (FIF) said Wednesday that it was terminating the contracts of the French coach and his assistant “for insufficient results in accordance to the contract of objectives they had with the FIF.”
Former Ivory Coast midfielder Emerse Faé was to take charge of the team on an interim basis.
Ivory Coast later edged into the last 16 of the Africa Cup because Morocco defeated Zambia to leave the Elephants among the among the best four third-place finishers in the six groups. They advance to the knockout stage along with the top two in each group.
Ivory Coast is hosting the tournament but failed to secure automatic progress as a top-two finisher when it was beaten 4-0 by Equatorial Guinea in its final group match on Monday. It proved to be Gasset's final game in charge.
“There are sometimes nightmare matches, matches where everything seems to be against you,” the coach said. “A catastrophic scenario.”
It was Ivory Coast's heaviest ever home defeat at the Africa Cup.
It left the Elephants with just three points from three group games and reliant on results in other groups.
Equatorial Guinea finished top of Group A with seven points, ahead of Nigeria on goal difference.
Gasset reportedly tendered his resignation to the president of the FIF, Yacine Idriss Diallo, right after the loss to Equatorial Guinea. The 70-year-old coach had been in charge since 2022, when he took over from compatriot Patrice Beaumelle after the team failed to qualify for the World Cup.
Monday's defeat prompted some irate Ivorian fans to vandalize commuter buses outside the stadium.
“The Ivorian Football Federation expresses its regret for the progress of the Elephants during the group stage of AFCON 2023," FIF said in a statement. "However, it remains convinced of the potential of our football team, and calls on everyone to unite for all the challenges ahead.”
Ivory Coast next faces defending champion Senegal in Yamoussoukro on Monday.
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