Brighton winger Simon Adingra expressed his joy, labeling Ivory Coast’s Africa Cup of Nations victory as “one of the most beautiful moments of my life.”
In Sunday’s final, Ivory Coast rallied to a 2-1 victory over Nigeria, with Brighton winger Adingra playing a pivotal role by providing assists for both goals and earning the player of the match award.
“We did it together – we’re Africa champions and it’s incredible,” said Adingra.
“I’ve just experienced one of the most beautiful moments of my life and that’s down to the effort of everyone in the team.”
The hosts found themselves trailing in the final when Nigeria’s captain, William Troost-Ekong, headed in an opener in the 38th minute, against the flow of the game.
However, in the second half, goals from Franck Kessie and former West Ham striker Sebastien Haller secured the victory. Haller’s return to action after battling testicular cancer, diagnosed in July 2022, added to the significance of the win.
Despite a challenging start that included a 4-0 defeat to Equatorial Guinea in the group stage, the Elephants managed to progress to the knockout rounds after finishing third in their section, leading to the dismissal of head coach Jean-Louis Gasset.
Caretaker boss Emerse Fae said: “When I think about all we went through, the hard times when we almost out and the matches where we came back in last minutes, we have created some miracles.
“We were close to humiliation but when we had a second chance, we were determined not to waste it.”