The National Sport of Ivory Coast is Soccer.
Soccer in Ivory Coast is passionate, connecting people of different backgrounds through their love for the game.
To learn more about sports culture in Ivory Coast, read our article about the most popular sports in Ivory Coast.
Table of Contents
#1 History of Soccer
- 1950s-1960s: Soccer gradually gained popularity in Ivory Coast with the establishment of local clubs.
- 1960: Formation of the Ivorian Football Federation (Fédération Ivoirienne de Football or FIF) following the country’s independence.
- 1964: FIF becomes a member of FIFA, the international governing body for soccer.
- 1968: The Ivory Coast national team participates in its first African Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament.
- 1992: Ivory Coast claims its first AFCON title, defeating Ghana in penalty shootout.
- 2006: The national team makes its debut appearance in the FIFA World Cup, held in Germany.
- 2015: Ivory Coast secures its second AFCON championship, once again defeating Ghana in penalty shootout.
#2 Culture and Traditions
Soccer plays a crucial role in Ivory Coast’s cultural identity, with the sport being a source of national pride and unity. The country’s success on international stages has fostered a strong fan culture, transcending ethnic and regional boundaries.
Festivals, rituals, and events associated with soccer in Ivory Coast include street football tournaments, which are prevalent across the country’s cities, allowing the youth to showcase their burgeoning talent. This grassroots level engagement has helped mold many renowned professional footballers.
During major international tournaments, such as the AFCON or the FIFA World Cup, towns and cities across Ivory Coast organize public viewings, encouraging a sense of camaraderie as fans collectively experience the highs and lows of their beloved national team’s performances.
#3 How it Works: Rules, Gameplay and Equipment
📕 Rules & Gameplay
- Match Duration: A standard match consists of two halves, each lasting 45 minutes, with a 15-minute break in between.
- Objective: Each team tries to score by getting the ball into the opposing team’s goal.
- Players: Each team has 11 players, including one goalkeeper.
- Offside: A player is offside if they are nearer to the opponent’s goal than both the ball and the second last opponent when the ball is played to them.
- Fouls: Direct and indirect free-kicks and penalty kicks are awarded for infringements of the rules.
⚙️ Equipment & Gear
- Ball: Round and made of leather or another suitable material.
- Goalposts: Located at each end of the field, they are 7.32 meters wide and 2.44 meters tall.
- Kits: Teams wear distinguishing kits, with goalkeepers wearing different colors to stand out.
- Shin Guards: Protection for players from potential tackles or hits.
- Boots: Specialized shoes designed for the sport’s requirements.
#4 Modern Development of Soccer
In contemporary times, soccer in Ivory Coast has evolved from a localized pastime to a professionalized sport. National talent is frequently scouted by European clubs, providing these players with opportunities to further develop their skills and achieve global recognition.
Technological advancements have impacted the sport, introducing tools like Video Assistant Referee (VAR) and goal-line technology to enhance fairness and accuracy. The adoption of these innovations has positively influenced soccer in Ivory Coast, aligning the sport with modern standards.
In recent decades, Ivory Coast has continued to foster its soccer culture and infrastructure. Through investment in training centers and youth academies, the country is dedicated to nurturing and developing its soccer potential, consistently producing talented players that have a major impact in both domestic and international leagues.
#5 Soccer and the Olympics
Soccer has been a staple event in the Olympic Games since its early years, with the men’s competition dating back to 1900 and the women’s competition commencing in 1996. Ivory Coast’s national soccer team made its Olympic debut in the 2008 Beijing Games, making an impression with a respectable seventh-place finish in the men’s tournament.
The Olympics have served as an essential platform for soccer’s growth, offering exposure to emerging talents and solidifying the sport’s international appeal. Participation in the Games has allowed countries like Ivory Coast to showcase their soccer prowess and contribute to the sport’s widespread appeal and global recognition.
#6 Famous Athletes and Achievements
- Didier Drogba: The legendary striker is known for his skill and power on the field, as well as his iconic spell with Chelsea FC, winning numerous titles, including the UEFA Champions League. Drogba also captained Ivory Coast’s national team and is the country’s all-time top scorer.
- Yaya Touré: A versatile midfielder known for his technical prowess, Yaya Touré had a successful career with several European clubs, most notably Manchester City. He also played an integral role in Ivory Coast’s national team, helping the country secure the 2015 AFCON title.
- Gervinho: Esteemed for his pace and dribbling abilities, Gervinho has had an illustrious club career in France, England, and Italy. As a key member of Ivory Coast’s national team, he represented his country in multiple international tournaments, including the FIFA World Cup.
- Kolo Touré: The elder brother of Yaya Touré, Kolo is regarded as one of the top defenders from Ivory Coast. He has had successful stints with Arsenal, Manchester City, and Liverpool, in addition to representing the national team in multiple international competitions.
#7 Where to watch Soccer
- Canal+ Sport and RTI: Subscribe to local satellite providers, offering coverage of international soccer events, as well as domestic league matches in Ivory Coast.
- Streaming services: Platforms like ESPN+ and beIN Sports provide comprehensive streaming coverage for fans seeking to watch soccer events, including international competitions and top European leagues.
- Ivory Coast stadiums: Experience the excitement of live soccer matches at notable venues like Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny (Abidjan), Stade de Yamoussoukro, and Stade Robert Champroux.