April 22, 2024
MyNewsGh

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Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023 hosts La Côte d’Ivoire progressed to the quarter final stage after a 5-4 oenalty shootout win over holders Senegal.

At the heart of the round of 16 success, was midfielder Franck Kessie.

He converted the penalty that tied the contest with five minutes remaining, before scoring the decisive kick in the shootout.

Here are some interesting facts about the former A.C. Milan and Barcelona midfielder.

Iconic celebration

Kessie celebrates one of his goals for Barcelona with his customary salute

If you’ve ever seen Kessie celebrate a goal, you would notice his unique celebrations.

Kessie has said that his iconic celebration is his way of paying homage to his late father, who passed away while serving in the military.

Kessie was only 11, when his father passed away due to illness.

Football heritage

Kessie’s celebrations are not the only way he honors his father.

With each performance, Kessie honors his father.

You see, Kessie’s father was also an ex-pro footballer.

“I followed his path, even though I went further because dad never played in Europe.”Also, my role [midfield] is more or less his,” he told rossoneriblog.com.

Kessie had his first stint with football when he joined Stella Club d’Adjamé in the capital Abidjan at 14.

He joined their first team four years later.

“It took three hours to get to training. I went by bus or was accompanied by mum.”

“The field was a mixture of grass and dirt, more dirt than grass. It wasn’t easy, but if you want to go far you have to endure all kinds of sacrifices.”

Kessie the President

Kessie’s leadership skills were vital as Milan won the league

Footballers, especially the lot of Europe, Latin America and Africa, are bed fellows with nick names.

Former Brazilian international Adriano earned the nickname the Emperor.

Higuain was called El Pipita, Fernando Torres was El Nino.France Kessie is no different.

The Côte d’Ivoire enforcer earned the nickname “The President” while at A.C Milan.

After joining AC Milan in 2017, Kessie’s teammates gave him the nickname.

But why?

“Why do they call me ‘The President’? Because I’m the president of the team, the head of the locker room,” he told Italy’s Sky Sport.

“I like it. It’s a nickname given as a joke, but as long as they call me that, and in the meantime we work hard, then it’s fine.”

AFCON ambition

Kessie is chased by his teammates to celebrate his goal against senegal

Franck Kessie, like many Ivorians, are desperate to win the AFCON on home soil.Kessie channeled that desperation in a virtuoso performance as La Côte d’Ivoire came from behind to beat holders Senegal on Monday.

“We were beaten in front of our country, in the stadium named after the President. That’s where we felt this humiliation.”

“After Morocco’s match, we had nothing more to lose! As they say: ‘a ghost can’t be afraid’,”

Kessie’s wife

In June 2021, Kessie married his long-term Ivorian girlfriend Joelle, the mother of his two children.

The couple opted for a traditional Ivorian wedding that included eye-catchy clothing.

Members of the Ivorian national team led by his Gervinho, were there to support him.

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