Ivory Coast will have to wait for favourable results to go their way to fulfill their slim hopes of progressing to the next round of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2024). The hosts are trying to avoid a repeat of 1984 when they last hosted the competition.
The Elephants of Ivory Coast slipped to a heart-wrenching 4-0 defeat by lowly rated Equatorial Guinea in front of their home fans in Abidjan on Monday. Emilio Nsue and two other goal scorers ensured that the Equatoguineans finished at the top of Group A, qualifying alongside the Super Eagles of Nigeria.
The two-time champions and their fans will have to endure a nervy wait to find out if they will advance in the competition as one of the four best third-placed sides to qualify for the Round of 16. The hosts have only failed to get out of the group phase once in the previous nine editions of the tournament and that was back in 2017.
And the wait will continue following the latest results from Tuesday's round of games. Hopes were up for the hosts in their AFCON 2024 journey after Ghana had let go off a two-goal lead against Mozambique with the Mozambicans forcing a 2-2 draw. The result left the Black Stars in third position with only 2 points.
The hosts had hoped that the game between Cameroon and the Gambia would end in a draw but a late twist saw the Indomitable Lions snatch victory in the 91st minute to win 3-2, that automatically ruled out their chances from Group C.
All eyes on Group F
For the hosts, attention shifts to Group F with the match between Morocco and Zambia the main focus, a favourable outcome in this tie can see the hosts qualify for the Round of 16 of AFCON 2024.
For this to happen and for the Elephants to continue their football adventure on their home soil, Jean-Louis Gasset's men are only hoping for one outcome – a win for Morocco against Zambia on Wednesday night.
By then, the third spots Groups D and E would have been decided and that might see three teams ahead of them in the rankings for best third placed teams, leaving the Ivorians to take the fourth and final place.
However, any other result for Zambia, a draw or a win against the Atlas Lions would all but seal the elimination of AFCON 2024 hosts, Ivory Coast.