Ivory Coast’s hopes for a third Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title, particularly on home turf, suffered a notable setback this week.
The 2015 champions faced a defeat against Nigeria’s Super Eagles in a pivotal group stage match, a result that could significantly influence both teams’ paths in the tournament.
This loss not only saw Ivory Coast lose their position as Group A leaders but also raised doubts about their prospects of advancing to the last 16.
The Ivorian national team’s defeat has sparked widespread skepticism and criticism from their supporters and stakeholders.
In response to the setback, coach Jean-Louis Gasset, aged 70, has offered an explanation for his team’s loss against their West African rivals.
In a media address reported by Own Goal Nigeria, Gasset sought to provide insight into the factors contributing to the defeat.
“It was a tightly contested game, and we struggled to match up physically. The presence of Nigeria’s player, [Victor Osimhen], played a significant role in our loss,” he stated during the post-match conference.
The sentiments shared by the former Bordeaux manager resonate with many coaches who have encountered the formidable skills of the African Footballer of the Year.
According to data from Whoscored, Osimhen displayed his scoring prowess by netting 31 times in 39 appearances for Napoli throughout 2023.