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Ivory Coast, the host nation for the Africa Cup of Nations in 2023, has relieved coach Jean-Louis Gasset of his duties midway through the tournament, as announced by the country’s football federation (FIF) on Wednesday.

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According to the FIF statement, the contracts of both coach Jean-Louis Gasset and his assistant Ghislain Printant have been terminated due to unsatisfactory results. The team suffered a humiliating 4-0 defeat against Equatorial Guinea in their recent Group A match on Monday.

The two-time champions now face the challenge of relying on favorable outcomes in the final group matches on Wednesday to secure a spot in the knockout phase as one of the top four third-placed teams. Ivory Coast has only missed advancing beyond the group stage once in the past nine editions, back in 2017.

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If Ivory Coast manages to advance to the last 16, Emerse Fae, one of Gasset’s assistants, will assume the role of interim boss until the conclusion of the tournament. Gasset, a Frenchman who took charge in May 2022, paid the price for consecutive group stage defeats to Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria following an initial 2-0 victory over Guinea-Bissau.

The team’s fate hinges on various scenarios in Groups E and F, and a victory for World Cup semi-finalists Morocco in their closing Group F match against Zambia would secure Ivory Coast’s progression.

After the disappointing loss to Equatorial Guinea, Gasset expressed his intention to discuss his future with FIF president Yacine Idriss Diallo, acknowledging the challenging scenario the team faced. The defeat marked the heaviest home loss in the country’s history.

Gasset, who had previously managed clubs in France such as Montpellier, Bordeaux, and Saint-Etienne, was in his first international coaching role.

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