Nigeria-Côte d’Ivoire AFCON final, blessing for both countries – Envoy

The Ambassador of Côte d’Ivoire to Nigeria, Kalilou Traore, says Nigeria versus Côte d’Ivoire meeting in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON, final on Sunday will be a blessing for the two countries.

Traore, who said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja, noted that hosting the AFCON tournament brought good ambiance to the country.
The envoy had prayed that both countries succeed in the tournament, while unveiling the ‘AFCON Village’, set up to enable football enthusiasts watch live-matches of the competition.
Credible news reports that the Africa Cup of Nations commonly referred to as the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations for sponsorship reasons, or simply AFCON or CAN, is the the most prestigious men’s football competition in Africa.
AFCON, contested by national teams,  is organised by the Confédération Africaine de Football and was first held in February 1957 in Khartoum, Sudan.
Côte d’Ivoire is hosting the 2023 AFCON, where the final sees the host Côte d’Ivoire taking on Nigeria in Abidjan on Sunday.
 The tournament kicked off in Côte d’Ivoire on Jan. 13, to end on Feb. 11, with 24 countries seeking for the continent’s most coveted football trophy


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 Traore stated that the 2023 AFCON is one of the best organised tournaments and it is a testament to the remarkable example of African solidarity and unity.
“We will be facing Nigeria; we as the Embassy of Côte d’Ivoire in Nigeria, we are happy. It is a blessing for us.
“We are the two finalists and it gives us also lots of opportunities to make closer these two countries.
“No matter who will win the finals, the embassy will win for that because it is occasion for us to develop fraternity, friendship and business between our two countries.
“We, Côte d’Ivoire, have already won one of our major goals of the AFCON, which is to have a good organisation.
“If we can win the tournament Cup in addition, it will be fun for us. But in a game, one will win and the other will lose”, he said.
He decried the practice by sports enthusiasts, whereby they take sides wishing their preferred team wins competition as “do or die affair”, to be wrong and advised people to always be ready for either a win or a loss.
Traore observed that the 2023 AFCON pulled surprises, saying “you cannot predict anything, you can just pray and then, God will answer you in a way or the other”.
“So, for this reason, we should be ready to accept the result. No matter which result it is, that will be good, also for our health.
“This is because unfortunately some people cannot support the tension and stress, even some people can die on that.
“We should not forget it is a game. At the end of the day, the winner and loser should embrace the outcome and be happy, because they have reached top level of this AFCON.
“We wish this final will also be very good. We call on every football enthusiast to support their team and be ready to accept the result, whatever it is”, he stated.
He further expressed appreciation to God that people who went to Abidjan to be part of AFCON were happy, going by the signals being received from there.
“From the information  from the social media, this is one of the best AFCON tournaments ever organised and we are happy, and very proud of that.
“Actually, this is what Côte d’Ivoire government wanted; to make the occasion fraternity for Africans and also, between Africans and all other parts of the world.
“We have never seen so much people coming into our country, not only for football,  also to do business and tourism across our country and we are very happy for that.
“This AFCON has shown most of the prediction failed and this is also part of the game, surprise of competition and enhanced pleasure of the situation.
“Many teams were supposed to be at the finals, small countries came and went very far in this AFCON. Even, Côte d’Ivoire, we started very badly and now we are at the final.
“We did this prediction, we are not prophets, but we think God heard our prayers and we are happy as the organising country to be in the final”,  Traore said.

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