Cote d’Ivoire midfielder Franck Kessie is daring to dream after inspiring his nation into the TotalEnergies CAF AFCON final.
Kessie produced a Man of the Match display to secure a 1-0 semi-final win over DR Congo. Now he believes Cote d’Ivoire can achieve something special on home soil.
Kessie has been integral to the Elephants’ run, marshaling the engine room with power and poise. After narrowly scraping through their group, Cote d’Ivoire have ignited hopes of a ‘miracle’ triumph.
And AC Milan star Kessie is determined to deliver for expectant Ivorian fans. “When you have a crowd like ours, the best in the world, we must go all the way,” he declared after beating DR Congo.
That win followed Kessie’s honest locker room interventions during the group stage. “The defeat against Equatorial Guinea was a wake-up call for us. We took the opportunity to speak honestly with each other and take responsibility,” explained Kessie.
Cote d’Ivoire have been rejuvenated since, finding form when it matters most. Kessie believes the final being held at President Alassane Ouattara Stadium gives added motivation.
“This stadium bears the name of our President, and we must honor it. We still have a long way to go. We should have a glorious history here, and it’s up to us to write the next chapter,” he said.
Victory on Sunday would spark ecstatic scenes nationwide. Nigeria stand in the way, but Kessie is focusing only on today’s celebrations before turning attention to his former club.
Kessie’s leadership and authority could make the difference against Nigeria’s flair. If the Elephants achieve TotalEnergies CAF AFCON glory, Kessie’s midfield masterclass will have paved the way.
By fuelling Cote d’Ivoire’s miracle, the Panther has already etched his name into Ivorian folklore. Now Kessie wants to cement legendary status by winning on home soil.