In an attempt to return the favor, fans from Côte d'Ivoire and Ivory Coast launched a campaign to honor Moroccan national team player Hakim Ziyech after his goal against Zambia – last Wednesday – helped the Elephants qualify for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
The Ivory Coast national team was threatened with early exit from the continental tournament hosted by its country had it not been for the goal scored by Ziyech, giving Morocco a 1-0 victory in the final round of the group stage, a result that prevented the Zambian national team from qualifying for the second round.
Ziyech opened the scoring in the 37th minute after a cross pass from Achraf Hakimi, and goalkeeper Lawrence Mulenga made a mistake in clearing it to reach the Galatasaray player, who shot powerfully into the net from close range.
With this defeat, the Zambian national team stopped at two points, while Ivory Coast, which has three points, qualified.
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS) January 24, 2024
After his goal against Zambia, Ziyech became the third highest scorer for the Moroccan national team in history with 22 goals, behind Salah Eddine Basir, who scored 27 goals, and the player Ahmed Fares comes in first with 36 goals.
Ziyech is participating with the Moroccan national team for the third time in the African Championship, and he failed to score during his first two editions with the “Atlas Lions” before he was able to score against Zambia, becoming his first goal in the African Cup of Nations.
Ivory Coast 🇨🇮 fans in Amadou Gon Coulibaly stadium celebrating Hakim Ziyech’s goal for Morocco 🇲🇦 vs Zambia 🇿🇲 in San Pedro
— JASON SAGINI🇰🇪(The Sports Archbishop) (@Jason_Sagini) January 24, 2024
Ivory Coast fans interacted with Ziyech's goal in the stands, chanting his name at length, and a number of fans – on social media platforms – asked their country's government to name one of the streets in the country after Ziyech.
Unusual: Ivorians 🇨🇮 ask their government to name a street after Hakim Ziyech 🇲🇦😄, after Ivory Coast qualified thanks to his goal and Morocco's victory. pic.twitter.com/SZauttlYYs
— LeSiteInfo (@LeSiteInfoFR) January 25, 2024
One fan said on the “X” social media platform, “To date, there is still no street named Hakim Ziyech. Do you see the lack of professionalism of our governments?”
Another commented, “Does Hakim Ziyech still not have a street in Côte d’Ivoire bearing his name?”
The Ivory Coast national team will face its Senegalese counterpart (the defending champion) in the round of 16, while the Moroccan national team will meet its South African counterpart.