U23 Afcon: Ghana and Ivory Coast produced a beautiful image of African football - Tanko


Ghana coach Ibrahim Tanko believes all is not lost with regard to their dreams of reaching the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games despite a qualifying setback on Tuesday. 

With a place in the final of the ongoing Africa U23 Cup of Nations (Afcon) and an Olympic ticket up for grabs, the Black Meteors suffered a penalty shoot-out loss to Cote d'Ivoire in the semi-final of the continental championship. 

Ghana have it all to do in the third-place play-off on Friday as the match winners will join the two finalists to represent Africa at the Olympics. 

"I want to congratulate Cote d’Ivoire who qualified for the final and got their qualification to the Olympics," Tanko said at the post-match press conference. 

"Tonight we missed on penalties, but both teams have given a beautiful image of African football and we still have a chance of Olympic qualification with the [third-place] match."

It was a thrilling showdown at Cairo International Stadium on Tuesday as Ghana twice came from behind to snatch a 2-2 draw after extra-time time and send the game into penalties. 

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"It was a tough game, but the main thing was done even if it's on penalties," Cote d'Ivoire coach Souhailo Haidara said. 

"But we must not neglect the value of the opponent, Ghana who had a great game."

Ghana, who are playing at the U23 Afcon for the first time since the tournament's inception in 2011, have not qualified for the Olympics since Athens 2004.