Dismissed Ivory Coast coach says Nigeria are favourites to win as AFCON final

Jean-Louis Gasset, the recently dismissed coach of Ivory Coast, has expressed his belief that Nigeria is the favourite to win the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) final against Ivory Coast. 

Gasset was let go by the Ivorian Football Federation (FIF) after Ivory Coast’s 4-0 defeat to Equatorial Guinea in the group stage.

Despite his absence from the Ivory Coast dugout in the final, Gasset acknowledged the strength of the Super Eagles, pointing out that the presence of Victor Osimhen, the reigning African Footballer of the Year, makes Nigeria the favourite. 

Gasset emphasized Osimhen’s impact in the tournament, highlighting his work rate, physicality, and ability to create scoring opportunities.

While Osimhen has only scored one goal in the ongoing AFCON, his contributions include:

  • Winning penalties against Ivory Coast and South Africa.
  • Forcing an own goal against Equatorial Guinea.
  • Providing an assist for Ademola Lookman’s goal in the round of 16 against Cameroon.

In an interview with L’Equipe via Ouest France, Gasset stated, “Ivory Coast are not favourites because Nigeria is higher ranked in Africa and has Osimhen, the best African Player of the Year. 

“But with Haller, Adingra, and maybe Pépé, it’s no longer the same team. I knew they would gain momentum. My departure brought peace. I am proud of the Elephants, happy.”

Nigeria previously defeated Ivory Coast in the group stage, with William Troost-Ekong scoring the decisive goal from the spot in the 55th minute.

 The AFCON final is set to take place at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan on Sunday.

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