Emerse Fae couldn't contain his overwhelming elation as he led Ivory Coast to victory in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament.
In a thrilling match that saw the Elephant team stage an incredible comeback, they secured a 2-1 win over Nigeria at a packed Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Ebimpe on Sunday evening.
Despite William Troost-Ekong opening the scoring for the Super Eagles in the first half, second-half goals from Franck Kessie and Sebastien Haller turned the tide in favour of the host nation.
Speaking to the media after the match, amidst a resounding round of applause, Fae, who took over from Jean-Louis Gasset, confessed to the surreal feeling of going from the brink of elimination to clinching the title.
"It's still sinking in. We went through every imaginable emotion. This tournament will forever stay with me. Taking on the leadership role on my birthday, and facing the threat of elimination, but through the unwavering effort of these players, fortunes turned, and today, they've been rewarded, especially our loyal fans," said the coach.
Fae was also honoured with the Best Coach of the Tournament award for displaying tactical brilliance in guiding the Elephants to a triumphant finish.
In addition to the glory, Ivory Coast has been awarded $7 million as prize money for emerging victorious in the tournament.