We Must ‘Leave With No Regrets’ Against Nigeria, Vows Ivory Coast’s Haller 

We Must ‘Leave With No Regrets’ Against Nigeria, Vows Ivory Coast’s Haller 

Ivory Coast star Sebastien Haller urged his team to “leave with no regrets” as they attempt to complete the most remarkable of major tournament comebacks in Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations final against Nigeria on home soil.

The Elephants are the first host nation to reach the AFCON final since Egypt in 2006, despite nearly exiting the competition in the group stage after a crushing 4-0 defeat to Equatorial Guinea.

 

“We have made a spectacular recovery,” said Haller in an AFP report.

 

“We all went through a difficult time after the Equatorial Guinea defeat, but we don’t have much to lose now. We have a second chance, and we need to make sure we leave everything on the field.”

 

The Equatorial Guinea loss was the Ivorians’ heaviest ever at home, forcing them to qualify as one of the best third-placed teams.

 

Haller added, “This experience brought us closer together. We know how close we came to a nightmare ending.”

 

They went on to beat Senegal on penalties, then overcame Mali in extra time, before Haller’s lone goal secured them a semi-final win against the Democratic Republic of Congo.

 

Haller himself has overcome testicular cancer and the disappointment of missing the Bundesliga title with Dortmund last season.

 

He missed the start of the AFCON due to injury but came back strong in the semi-final.

 

“The last year has been challenging, but I’m taking things step by step and hope to enjoy this moment,” he remarked.

 

This final is a repeat of their group stage encounter where Nigeria won 1-0 on a penalty kick. Since then, Côte d’Ivoire have changed coaches, and Nigeria has impressed with a solid defensive performance and strong attacking plays.

 

Both teams are ready to face the challenge of playing in a full stadium against the host nation.

 

Nigeria coach Jose Peseiro remains unsure about the availability of left wing-back Zaidu Sanusi due to a fitness concern.

Despite the challenges, both Ivory Coast and Nigeria are determined to leave their mark on the final and create history.

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