Jean-Louis Gasset had been in charge of Ivory Coast for almost two years (Issouf SANOGO)
Africa Cup of Nations hosts Ivory Coast are in disarray after sacking coach Jean-Louis Gasset midway through the tournament, the country’s football federation (FIF) announced on Wednesday.
“The contracts of coach Jean-Louis Gasset and his assistant Ghislain Printant are terminated due to insufficient results,” the FIF said in a statement.
The decision comes after the Ivorians suffered an embarrassing 4-0 thrashing by Equatorial Guinea in their last Group A game on Monday.
The two-time champions need results to go in their favour in Wednesday’s final group matches to reach the knock-out phase as one of the four best third-placed teams.
Ivory Coast have only failed to get out of the group phase once in the previous nine editions of the tournament, in 2017.
If Ivory Coast do squeeze into the last 16, Emerse Fae, one of Gasset’s assistants, will take over as interim boss until the end of the tournament.
Former Nantes and Nice midfielder Fae played alongside Didier Drogba in the Ivorian team that lost the 2006 AFCON final to Egypt.
“The Ivorian Football Federation expresses its regrets at the performance of the Elephants during the group stage,” the FIF statement added.
Frenchman Gasset had been in charge since May 2022 but paid the price for back-to-back group defeats by Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria following an opening 2-0 win over minnows Guinea-Bissau.
There are still multiple scenarios in Groups E and F which would send Ivory Coast through.
Victory for World Cup semi-finalists Morocco in their closing Group F game against Zambia on Wednesday would ensure Ivory Coast’s place in the next round, with a daunting last-16 tie against holders Senegal next week then the most likely scenario.
Gasset had indicated after Monday’s game that he would meet FIF president Yacine Idriss Diallo to discuss his future.
“When you have a scenario like that, bordering on a nightmare, there’s not much you can say or do,” Gasset said after the match.
“This result is catastrophic and I am of course the first person responsible,” he added.
The result was the country’s heaviest ever home defeat, and they are the first AFCON host to lose two group games since the Ivorians themselves did so back in 1984.
Appointed to succeed compatriot Patrice Beaumelle, Gasset was in his first international coaching job, having spent the rest of his career in France.
His former teams include Montpellier, Bordeaux and Saint-Etienne.
The 70-year-old was also notably the assistant coach to Laurent Blanc with the French national team, as well as at Bordeaux and Paris Saint-Germain, spells in which both clubs won Ligue 1 titles.