From archives: When military detained Ivory Coast squad for crashing out of AFCON

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Julius Jumah
Julius Jumah
A multimedia journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya.

Players of the Ivory Coast national football team were detained by the military after crashing out of the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals in the group stage.

In the continental showpiece, co-hosted by Nigeria and Ghana after Zimbabwe was stripped of hosting rights due to under-preparedness, Ivory Coast was placed in Group A alongside Cameroon, Ghana, and Togo.

The 22nd edition of the sports bonanza had sixteen participating teams organized into four groups of four, similar to the format in the 1998 edition.

When military detained Ivory Coast squad for crashing out of AFCON
Nigeria’s Jay Jay Okocha takes on Cameroon defenders in the final of the 2000 AFCON. Nigeria co-hosted the showpiece with Ghana and won it. [Photo/File].

The Elephants began their campaign with a 2-0 victory over the Black Stars of Ghana, followed by a 1-1 draw against perceived minnows Togo. However, their hopes were dashed when they suffered a 3-0 defeat by the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon.

Remarkably, all four teams in the group recorded one win, one draw, and one loss, resulting in each team having four points at the end of the group stage.

Cameroon topped the group with a +2 goal difference, Ghana secured the second position with a 0 goal difference, while Ivory Coast and Togo crashed out with a -1 goal difference.

ALSO READ: Luck or effort? Where does Ivory Coast stand after Senegal show?

Due to these results, the military authorities detained the squad in an army camp. The military spokesperson mentioned that the squad was being held for its protection, guarding against possible reprisals by angry fans.

Ivory Coast survive group stage elimination at 2023 AFCON

In the 2023 edition, Ivory Coast almost got eliminated from the AFCON tournament at the group stage level – in what would have been a replica of their woes at the 2000 edition.

The hosts won only one group stage game and lost two at the 34th edition, consequently finishing third in Group A behind Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria.

The Elephants however qualified for the knockout phase as one of the four best third-placed teams and have made it to the semifinals by dramatically beating defending champions Senegal (last 16) and Mali (quarters0,

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