Ex Fulham stars make AFCON history - heartbreak for current Cottagers duo
Two former Fulham stars got their hands on the prestigious Africa Cup of Nations trophy last night for Ivory Coast, even if it did come at the expense of two current Cottagers.
The much-loved tournament concluded on Sunday with hosts Ivory Coast facing favourites Nigeria at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium. It was the home nation who triumphed thanks to a late Sebastian Haller goal as the nation picked up its third AFCON title and its first since 2015. The Elephants are now level with Nigeria for total wins.
The match-winner Haller is no doubt a name familiar with Premier League fans after his stint at West Ham but there were a number of recognisable faces who emerged as victors with their Ivory Coast colleagues, especially for Fulham supporters.
Fans of Marco Silva's side will have been more focused on the involvement of Alex Iwobi and Calvin Bassey, who have been out of club action in recent weeks as they represented Nigeria, but two former Fulham stars in Seko Fofana and Jean Michael Seri played for the winners in the final.
Fofana spent a short loan spell at the Cottage from Manchester City during the 2014/15 season. The midfielder, who is now on loan at Al Ettifaq from Al Nassr, put in a decent showing in the Championship that year as Fulham placed 17th and he returned to the Etihad Stadium.
Seri spent a longer time on the banks of the Thames and was on the books at Fulham for four years between 2018 and 2022. The current Hull City star played 70 times for Fulham between being sent on loan to Galatasaray and Bordeaux, making 33 league appearances as the club was promoted to the Premier League in 2022.
Speaking about the involvement of Iwobi and Bassey in AFCON, last week Silva said: "Of course, we have been watching. Mixed feelings I have to say. Of course, we are happy and pleased for them, it's an important moment for them and as a country.
"To be the most honest with you, for us as a club, it is not good. It's been a long, long time without two key players who have been so, so important since they joined last summer. It took a bit more time for Calvin to settle but after he was crucial and of course, Alex from the first moment has been so crucial for us.
"It's a mixed feeling as I'd prefer to have them with us in January and February but at the same time I'm pleased for them - it's important for their country and for them individually. We are all supporting them."