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Sol Bamba to discuss Ivory Coast manager position after AFCON final

Sol Bamba says he plans to have talks over the Ivory Coast manager role and future backroom staff after the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) final on Sunday. 

Ivory Coast, who will take on Nigeria in the final, sacked previous manager Jean-Louis Gasset last month despite their eventual progression to the last 16.

Assistant coach Emerse Fae took over and has since secured victories over Senegal, Mali, and DR Congo, with only Nigeria standing in the way of Ivory Coast winning their third AFCON title.

Bamba, who made 46 appearances for Ivory Coast during his career, says he is glad that former national team team-mate Fae has been given the role.

Speaking on The Athletic Football Podcast, he said: “When we had Jean-Louis Gasset, people were not happy. We wanted someone we thought represented us the best they could and that was not him.

“I know him (Gasset) very well. He’s a great lad. He never managed in Africa before and there are so many things involved in managing in Africa. Emerse (Fae) had been there for two years under him.

“It has been a bizarre couple of weeks, to be honest. I am glad that Emerse Fae is in charge; I know him very well. I’ve played with him. There was an opportunity for me to go away with him and Guy Demel to go and assist him. The turnaround was too quick, so Guy went with him to finish the tournament with him. 

“I am going there (Ivory Coast) for the final but after that, we will have meetings and see what happens.”

Bamba also underlined the importance of former players getting a chance to manage their national teams.

“We tried to do that for many years,” he said. “When Idrissa Diallo was in power he said that he wanted local ex-players to come and look after the national team. After tournaments, he would meet ex-players who were doing their badges. He would talk to them and see what could be done, right from under-15 and 18 level up to the first team. 

“I think that is the way you have to do it. I think that is the way Senegal have been doing it and Morocco and Algeria. I think everyone should start doing it and it will be good for African football.

“From my point of view, I am saying that this is all we have been asking for, an opportunity. People sometimes think that we just want jobs because of the colour of our skin. That is not what we want. We want opportunities, and if you’re good enough for the job, you will get it.” 

(Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

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