The Ivory Coast’s traditional hospitality embodied by ‘Akwaba’ which means ‘welcome,’ took an unexpected turn into chaos as Equatorial Guinea secured a surprising 4-0 victory, leading to property destruction and heightened tension among Nigerian journalists and others, as reported by Soccernet.ng.
The Ivory Coast, hosting the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, faced their second defeat in the tournament against the unexpected dark horse, Equatorial Guinea, suffering a surprising 4-0 loss in front of the home crowds.
Christian Kouame executed a beautiful cross during the game, directing a header towards Ibrahim Sangare. Although Sangare’s header successfully passed Jesus Owono, VAR intervened, disallowing the goal due to an offside decision.
Another opportunity for the Ivorians to equalise arose when Seko Fofana assisted Jean-Phillips Krasso, who found himself with only the keeper to beat. However, this goal was also ruled out for offside.
— CAF (@CAF_Online) January 22, 2024
The contentious decisions by VAR appeared to infuriate fans, leading to post-game chaos. The frustrated supporters engaged in property destruction, sparking tensions in the aftermath of the match.
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What Happened at Ebimpe Stadium?
Immediately after the game, videos surfaced capturing the anger of Ivorian fans who felt cheated by the disallowed goals.
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Scenes included fans destroying property and tensions escalating. Players leaving the pitch were targeted with thrown objects, including water.
Videos also showed buses, including those transporting the media team, being destroyed, with police attempting to restore order.
How Did Journalists’ React To The Chaos?
A journalist, nicked ‘Mike the pundit’, shared his experience, recounting how he narrowly escaped harm by advising fellow Nigerian journalists to hide their tags for safety. He described running for cover after escaping a later-destroyed bus.
The journalist recommended that all journalists hide their tags for safety. As of the time of writing, the situation remains relatively calm as individuals seek refuge until complete calm is restored.
Africa is a country
The incident reflects a recurring pattern in African football where significant losses lead to destructive fan reactions.
It is a very sad evening for Ivorian nationals. However, the act of destroying properties in the name of losing a game is totally unacceptable.
I understand that two goals were cancelled, which has sparked some anger.
However, their reaction confirms why people often… pic.twitter.com/TdWrYVmgtp
— Ayomide Oguntimehin (@ayo_oguntimehin) January 23, 2024
Similar chaos unfolded in Nigeria’s 2022 World Cup qualification against Ghana and Egypt’s clash against Senegal, with stadiums witnessing turmoil after crucial defeats.
Ivorian nationals, known for their welcoming spirit symbolised by ‘Akwaba,’ departed from this tradition with unacceptable behaviour.
The Confederation of African Football is expected to investigate the matter and reassure all visitors that the tournament will proceed safely.