Veteran Ivorian forward, Max Alain Gradel acknowledged the input of Morocco in his country’s third Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) triumph with a symbolic moment that caught the eyes of many as the tournament climaxed on Sunday at the Allasane Ouatarra stadium in Epimbe.
The 36-year-old carried the Moroccan and Ivorian flags and ran the length of the athletic track of the stadium to appreciate Morocco.
Like a script in a Hollywood movie, Côte D’Ivoire were down and nearly out of the competition and it only took Morocco’s 1-0 win against Zambia in the final group stage game to resurrect Côte D’Ivoire and assure a last minute qualification for the knockouts round of the tournament as one of the best third-place teams.
From that revival moment created by the Moroccan decision to play their best team and get the result, Côte D’Ivoire never looked back.
The hosts eliminated defending champions Senegal, favorites Mali, DR Congo before getting the 2-1 win against three-time winners Nigeria on Sunday evening to land their third continental crown.
The act from Gradel highlights the beauty of what has been an unforgettable AFCON tournament. One which there was always a banter between nationals of different countries for different reasons but Morocco was rather celebrated for keeping the values of fairness in competition.
As Côte D’Ivoire draws the curtains of a memorable event, Morocco opens it’s doors as the 35th edition of the AFCON will be held next summer in the country noted for its unmatched hospitality.
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