Elephants Goalkeeper Boubacar Barry scored the decisive goal from the penalty spot as Ivory Coast won the Africa Nations’ Cup, Equatorial Guinea 2015 by defeating Ghana (9-8) thus ending a 23- year drought.
Ivory Coast excelled over Ghana despite making a poor start to the 22-penalty climax with the first kick from Wilfried Bony hitting the crossbar and Junior Tallo firing wide the second spot kick.
In the final kicks from the spot, Barry had set up the match-winning opportunity by diving to his left and punched away goalkeeper Razak Braimah’s spot kick.
History repeated itself as the Elephants only Continental title was in 1992 when they edged the Ghanaians by winning 11 – 10 on penalties after the final ended 0-0 following extra time. .
Dubbed as a ‘dream’ final between the West African neighbours, it became the fourth decider in the last eight to finish goalless and be decided by spot-kicks. Both teams effected one change each from the teams that started in convincing semi-final victories over the Democratic Republic of Congo and Equatorial Guinea respectively.
President Teodoro Obiang, FIFA President Joseph “Sepp” Blatter and CAF President Issa Hayatou were introduced to the teams before the National Anthems.
The overall atmosphere was quite friendly with both players warmly greeting each other as they went through the traditional shake of hands. While there were moments of anxiety for both defences, clearcut chances remained elusive and the game predictably drifted into extra-time.
The African Nations’ Cup 2015 – redeemed by Equatorial Guinea after the unfortunate decision by Morocco to withdraw from hosting it – will go down in the Continent’s football history as a very successful edition with Ivory Coast printing their names in Gold whilst the other participating teams bask in its glory. Thanks to CAF and Equatorial Guinea for saving our Great African Tournament.
By: Jammeh E.K. Bojang