Ivory Coast’s interim coach Emerse Fae has urged his team to go into Wednesday’s Africa Cup of Nations semifinal against the Democratic Republic of Congo with the mindset that has allowed the hosts to make a “miraculous” recovery from the brink of elimination at the tournament.
The Elephants reached the last four after a remarkable escape in Saturday’s quarterfinal, when they beat Mali 2-1 thanks to Oumar Diakite’s goal in added time in extra time.
They had been reduced to 10 men in the first half when Odilon Kossounou was sent off, and were heading out, trailing 1-0, when substitute Simon Adringa levelled in the 90th minute to force the extra half-hour.
Before that, they came from behind against Senegal in the last 16 before eliminating the holders on penalties, and before that they scraped out of their group as the last of the four best third-placed teams.
“We are aware that we have made a spectacular recovery, that when you look at the Mali game we survived miraculously,” Fae told reporters in Abidjan on Tuesday.
“We will garner strength from that and tell ourselves that our mindset is good. It is that mindset which allows us to pull off miracles like that, but we are not going to relax and say that because we won miraculously it means it is our destiny that we are going to win the trophy.
“The miracle against Mali did not fall out of the sky, it did not just happen like that, it happened because the players kept on fighting and believing until the end.”
Fae was put in charge following the sacking of Jean-Louis Gasset in the wake of the Ivorians’ 4-0 loss to Equatorial Guinea in their final group game, the team’s heaviest ever home loss.
Wednesday’s match will be Ivory Coast’s first at the Ebimpe Olympic Stadium since that humiliating reverse on January 22.