RETRO EDITION 1973 NATIONAL CUP SEMI-FINALS: :

A PHENOMENAL PATIENCE GAME

Yoro Alphonse tente d’arrêter un adversaire
RETRO National Cup semi-finals edition 1973 – ASEC Mimosas / Abidjan Stadium: 5-3 (0-2)
The history of ASEC Mimosas is full of sensational exploits. The semi-finals of the National Cup edition 1973 is a good example. That year, on Sunday, July 22, ASEC Mimosas, leader of the national championship that she would win, crossed his heir, theAbidjan Stadium, in the semi-finals of the National Cup. This meeting qualified for the final time before the letter would keep all of its promises. The large formation of ASEC Mimosas, led by its captain and formidable scorer, Laurent POKOU, consisted of GOHI Marc in goal, MOBIO, YABE Iritche, N’DA Yao (then Karim OUATTARA), GUEHASSA Paul, BAZO Christophe, N’GUESSAN Bernard, Zan Séry COULIBALY, TRAORE Kandia (then BOUAZO Valentin) and YORO Alphonse. In front of her, loomed just as large and formidable team of the Stade D’abidjan, composed of Daniel ETOUKAN, Janvier KOUAO, Nicolas, Gnamba DIAGOU, N’DOYE Malick, IRIE BI Toh, Vincent KOUADIO, JANTUAH (then ZOKO), Pommeli COFFIE, KOUADIO Gaston, KOUTOUAN Jean-Claude and Laurent ZAHUI.
A sparkling team of the Stade D’abidjan
This Sunday, July 22, 1973, the Félix Houphouët-BOIGNY Stadium drained more than 20,000 spectators in majority of supporters of ASEC Mimosas. In the first half, Mimosas are completely overwhelmed by the gleaming Stade in the image of their virtuoso Vincent KOUADIO, Pommeli COFFIE and KOUTOUAN Jean-Claude. The blue and Red realizedtheir clear domination thanks to two goals from KOUTOUAN Jean-Claude (39th and 40th) following two assists Pommeli COFFIE. They reach the break with the lead. But in the second half, God manifested on the lawn of FHB Stadium in the person of Laurent POUKOU, centre forward and captain of ASEC Mimosas. This reduced first mark seven minutes after the break following an intervention missed the goalie Scott ETOUKAN Daniel on a center of the winger left mimosas N’GUESSAN Bernard (52nd). The coming into play of BOUAZO Valentin instead of TRAORE Kandia finally allows the ASEC Mimosas to find his game and shine. But a powerful and distant beauty shot, KOUADIO Gaston scored the third goal of the Abidjan Stadium and allows his team to a gap up to 5 minutes of the end of the game where a fight broke out between the midfielders mimosas BAZO Christophe and Vincent KOUADIO stadiste and caused a stoppage in play.

The claws of the terrible Laurent POKOU shots

For the rest, that’s what brought JOHER Yassine in the minutes of this match completely reversing, the next day, in the national daily newspaper, Fraternité Matin 9th year ‘n’ 2608 on Monday, July 23, 1973. «One is gradually heading towards Rennes victory which was, five minutes from the end, no doubt, when POKOU, on a corner marked (85th).» The ‘Cheetahs’ supporters believed without really believing in a reversal of the situationAnd there’s that POKOU, the next minute, on an action of BOUAZO, put both teams tied (3-3). Useless, I think, to describe the outbreak of joy of the ASEC fans who were returning from far awayAnd the distress of the handful of Rennes supporters who lived an extraordinary event. The purpose of the qualification of Rennes was almost ‘ acquired in the 89th minute, but GUEHASSA, who was deputized his beat, Marc Porter out the ball (…) It took to do so playing extra time to finda winner. ASEC, momentum, scorait grace, again, POKOU at the 93rd minute on anew BOUAZO pass. The stadium, which was struggling, was this time caught in the throat. The 102nd minute, N’GUESSAN would mark the 5th goal, a goal challenged by Stade. It seemed that the player of ASEC’s action was valid, that it was vitiated by any irregularityThis goal of the ASEC set fire to the powder. Unfortunately, the matchwould end »

This memorable semi-final of the National Cup shows how in the 1960s, 1970s and 1990, players of ASEC Mimosas knew wet the shirtto deny defeat. And it is in this way that they have been able to write the history of ASEC Mimosas. The current generation of mimosasplayers should learn from the behavior of its predecessors to well defend the colours of their club.

TESTIMONY DIAGOU Dominique (former central defender of the Abidjan Stadium) George remembers
“POKOU scored this semi-final of his footprint”

As a central defender of the Abidjan Stadium, you have been one of the major players in the famous semi-final of the National Cup ASEC Mimosas – Stadium in Abidjan, Sunday, July 22, 1973, at FHB Stadium. Semi-final that you have conducted (0-2) in the first half, then (1-3) up to 5 minutes from the end before we lose (5-3) after extra time. What memories do you have of this meeting?

Some of my teammates and I were not certain to play this game even if the President Mr. MONDON Konan Julien and our coach Luc-Olivier had decided that the entire team of the Abidjan stadium being green at the Grand Hotel. I was tripping, but there was a gentleman like Mama OUATTARA who played this position. SAGNABA Soma, another monument moved to the post of libero. Janvier KOUAO was right side and Adama DOUMBIA, left side. It’s 2 hours before thegame that our coach unveiled us the ranking that had surprised everyone. Mama OUATTARA and Sagnaba SOMA have not been selected. I’ve played the position of stop and I was the direct opponent of Laurent POKOU. N’DOYE Malick has played libero behind me. I saw Laurent POKOU an attacker very athletic, very committed, veryclever, but also very vicious. I understand so far why the direct opponents of Laurent POKOU often crumbled when they arguing a ballwith him. POKOU was the art of kicking his opponents to unbalancethem. We started the game, literally dominated the ASEC Mimosas in the first half and reached the break with the score of 0-2 to our advantage. On resumption, Laurent POKOU had reduced the brand.But we scored a third goal through KOUADIO Gaston and led 1-3 up to 5 minutes of the end where a fight broke out between our teammate Vincent KOUADIO and BAZO Christophe of ASEC Mimosas.This has caused a stoppage that lasted about 30 minutes. When thegame resumed, we did find out that the game was almost over. And then, in quick succession, Laurent POKOU scored two goals, restoring parity in the score 3 goals everywhere. During extra time, Laurent POKOU scored his fourth goal and that of his team. ASEC Mimosas scored a fifth goal byN’GUESSAN Bernard. For us, on the action of this purpose of N’GUESSAN Bernard, we saw the ball come out. N’GUESSAN Bernard controlled it to mark. We challenged this goal and thematch did not go to completion.

What do you caused this reversal of extraordinary situation for ASEC Mimosas?

After the incident, it is true that the release of Vincent KOUADIO (he had been expelled with BAZO Christophe after their fight) was somewhat disorganized our game system. But I think it’s rather out of JANTUAH Justin, our defensive midfielder from the Asante Kotoko of Kumasi, which had weakened our midfield and helped ASEC Mimosas to control this sector to make a difference after the coming into play of BOUAZO Valentin.

What is it that you particularly marked this day there?

It is the attendance of the public. That day, the FHB stadium was full as an egg. The intensity of the encounter and the turnaround which saw us lose (5-3) this match that we conduct (1-3) 5 minutes from the end are unforgettable. I am still very impressed with the tactical aspect of this meeting. Two coaches, ANZIAN Jean-Baptiste on the side of ASEC Mimosas and Luc Olivier on the side of the Abidjan Stadium showed all their tactical genius that day. But ANZIAN was able to reconfigure his team to prevail at the moment where we thought having definitely snatched the victory to his team. There was above all a man, Laurent POKOU who, at one point, took the game to his account to help his team win. POKOU was a great artist of the football. His death is a big loss for our football. His way to wet theshirt, to refuse defeat, to communicate with his teammates, it was extraordinary. POKOU scored this semi-final of his footprint. Ivorian television should show Laurent POKOU matches to the younger generation so that they can see the monument he was. Me Roger OUEGNIN him a monument to Sol Beni. I also admired the human side of POKOU. He was a good man, he always defended his teammates, he was an extraordinary kindness. Ivory Coast must capture POKOU by giving his name to a street or football stadium.

Excerpt from the Mimosas Magazine N ° 1314 February 23, 2017
Interview conducted by KONE Ishmael.