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Ivorian Sébastien Haller will go down in history as the scorer of the final goal, eventually the matchwinner, in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

But before playing in the tournament, the Borussia Dortmund forward had undergone two surgeries and various rounds of chemotherapy for testicular cancer.

This was detected in July 2022, just two weeks after joining the Bundesliga side from Ajax.

He recovered very well in January, 2023 to return to full training.

A little over a year later, Haller has become a winner of the Africa Cup of Nations.

Curiously, he started his international career playing for the French youth side, from U-16 to U-21.

Switching nationality and making his debut for the West Africans in 2020, he scored against Madagascar in a 2021 AFCON qualifier.

Haller in full action in the 2023 AFCON final

He was part of the Elephants team that lost to Egypt on penalties in the Round of 16 at Cameroon 2021.

His inclusion in this year’s AFCON was a gamble as he suffered a knee injury in December.

Therefore, he couldn’t play a part in the Elephants’ group games, coming on as a substitute in the Round of 16 against Senegal.

The man who was pivotal in Ajax’s impressive run in the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League made his presence felt in subsequent games, scoring the only goal in the semi-final tie against DR Congo.

Haller’s half-volley secured the ticket to the final

He rose to the occasion in the final at the Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara D’Ebimpé on Sunday when he sublimely tapped Simon Adingra’s cross in the 81st minute to clinch the match winner for his side.

Haller does not come in the form of Ivory Coast greats like Laurent Poku or Didier Drogba but his role in the last three games for the Elephants will not go unrecognized, at least after beating cancer to win a third African title for the West Africans.