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AFCON 2023: Images of Ivorian players in brawl date back to 2013

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Claim: Ivory Coast loses four points in AFCON over misconduct.

AFCON 2023: Images of Ivorian players in brawl date back to 2013

Verdict: False. Credible news outlets inform that photos of the Ivorian players in a brawl were taken during training before the World Cup qualifier against Tanzania in 2013.

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Ahead of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023, scheduled to commence on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2023, a Facebook user claimed that the host nation, Côte d’Ivoire, has lost points over pitch misconduct. 

The Facebook user, Ndifreke Heartbeat, wrote that Cote d’Ivoire had lost points due to its players’ involvement in a physical brawl, allegedly placing group mate, Nigeria, at the top spot in the group.

Attached to the claim were images of two Ivorian players visibly locked in a fight as players and officials tried to separate them. 

The claim has generated over 40,000 likes, 2,100 comments and shared 455 times.

There were diverse reactions in the comment section.

“So our pathway to qualification is (through) other people fighting?” Simon Onyekachi Igbudu queried.

“Fake news.” Henry Okwudiri dismissed.  

Due to the controversy generated and the sensitivity of the claim, DUBAWA decided to verify it.


We conducted a keyword search related to the claim and found a news report published by Daily Mail.

The 2013 news article reports how former Manchester City player Abdul Razak was “sent home” by the Ivory Coast for “fighting with a teammate.” 

The paper further informed that Mr Razak was punished for scrapping with Jean-Jacques Gosso, who played for the Turkish side Mersin İdmanyurdu at the time. It was also reported that the incident had happened during a training session ahead of Ivory Coast’s clash against Tanzania in the World Cup qualifiers. 

Notably, along with the publication were photos of the brawl taken by the American visual media company Getty Images.

Manchester Evening News and Modern Ghana also reported that Ivory Coast had given Mr Razak a reprieve and sent him home after a face-off with Jean-Jacques Gosso on the training ground. 


The claim is false. Several news platforms report that the incident happened in 2013.

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