Ivory Coast is the new African champion. CAF

The organisers of the major football tournaments in Asia and Africa have been crowned champions. Qatar defeated Jordan 3-1 and Ivory Coast beat Nigeria 2-1 in both thrilling finals.

The Asian Football Confederation Championship has come to an end, with the hosts claiming the title on home soil. Qatar have secured back-to-back championships on Arab soil (they will do the same in the United Arab Emirates in 2019).

Akram Afif was the star player for the Asian champions, leading his country to redemption after disappointing results at the 2022 World Cup (they lost all three of their home matches against the Netherlands, Ecuador and Senegal).

The 27-year-old son of Yemeni and Tanzanian parents, who plays for Qatar's Al-Sadd, scored three goals, all from the penalty spot, in a 3-1 win over Jordan in the final to finish as the tournament's top scorer with seven goals in seven matches.

Jordan, who had never progressed beyond the quarter-finals before beating two-time Asian champions South Korea 2-0 in the semi-finals, finished as runners-up.

Qatar has now won two Asian Cup titles, matching the tally of a team with a rich history in the competition, South Korea, who have won twice and finished as runners-up four times. They are one behind Iran and their neighbours Saudi Arabia, who have three each, and two behind Asia's all-time winners, Japan, who have four.

Ivory Coast grabbed the headlines with a 2-1 win over Nigeria in the presence of President Alassane Ouattara, who was once again smiling after an investment of almost €4 billion (80% of which is in the form of loans to be repaid over a number of years) that seemed to merit strong criticism. 

Trailing going into the final, as they had been throughout the tournament, Ivory Coast rose to the occasion, overcoming the odds to achieve footballing success and bring joy to a historically troubled and divided nation.

Ivory Coast's journey to the final was almost like a film. They stumbled at the start but managed to recover. They were virtually "eliminated" in the group stage, but progressed as the fourth-best third-placed team thanks to the results of other African teams (Mozambique scored two goals in the 91st and 94th minutes against Ghana to open the door to the Round of 16).

They even lost their coach after two of their three group games, the last of which was a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Equatorial Guinea. The Elephants progressed, but their head coach, Jean-Louis Gasset, abandoned ship. 

Hervé Renard, currently in charge of the French women's national team, was brought in to take over, but the Europeans refused to lend him to their former colony for a few weeks. Amid the chaos, Emerse Faé, the sacked coach's assistant, took over as head coach despite having no experience at senior level.

After their initial setback, the Ivorians bounced back with each game and knocked out one of the title favourites in the last eight, albeit on penalties. After defeating defending champions Senegal, they knocked out Mali in the quarter-finals, playing with ten men for 75 minutes before scoring in the 90th and 122nd minutes of extra time. 

In the semi-finals, they were more confident in their 1-0 win over the Democratic Republic of Congo, and in the final they overcame the might of Nigeria thanks to a 62nd-minute equaliser from Franck Kessié and an 81st-minute winner from Ivorian star Sébastien Haller.

This Ivorian title will go down in the history books of Africa and football in general. A cinematic tournament, a phoenix rising from the ashes to give Ivory Coast their third continental title (1992 and 2015 were the others) and cement their place among the giants of African football.