“We thank God”: Catholic Bishop in Ivory Coast on Country Hosting, Winning AFCON

The Catholic Bishop of Yamoussoukro Diocese in Ivory Coast is thankful to God for enabling the West African nation organize and emerge the winner of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) that concluded on Sunday, February 11.

Ivory Coast hosted the 34th edition of Afcon, the 2024 competition that brought together 24 African countries that qualified for the tournament.

In an interview with ACI Africa minutes after Ivory Coast’s 2-1 comeback over Nigeria, Bishop Joseph Aka used the analogy of “death” and “resurrection” of Jesus Christ to recall the journey of the Ivorian national team to claiming a third Afcon victory.

“We thank God for giving us the grace to organize and to win. May His name be blessed,” Bishop Aka said.

The Ivorian Catholic Bishop added, “Ivory Coast died and on the third day; Ivory Coast resurrected. After the resurrection, Ivory Coast cannot die again.”


Ivory Coast lost two of its three group-stage matches, including the 4-0 defeat to Equatorial Guinea after it had lost 1-0 to Nigeria. As the country was experiencing the disappointing results, the Ivorian football federation fired its coach.

The qualification of Ivory Coast for the knockout stage came thanks to a Morocco win over Zambia in another group. It qualified as one of the four best third-placed teams. The West African nation tried unsuccessfully to hire another coach.

In its match against the defending champion, Senegal, taunted as the strongest team in the tournament, Ivory Coast won through penalties after extra time.

In the semifinals, Ivory Coast defeated the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by its single goal.

In the interview with ACI Africa, Bishop Aka said, “It was the Afcon of hospitality and the country of hospitality has won it.”

More in Africa

In a statement issued Monday, February 12, members of the Episcopal Conference of Ivory Coast (CECCI) “congratulate the Elephants of Ivory Coast on their fine victory.”

The West African nation first won the continental football tournament in 1992. The country also won the 2015 Afcon.

Winning the tournament as a host country, Ivory Coast follows Egypt, the North African nation that lifted the trophy in 2006.

The Elephants pick up US$7m in prize money, with Nigeria handed US$4m by the Confederation of African Football.

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