Ivorian striker Sebastien Haller won the Africa Cup of Nations with his national team. He scored decisive goals for his national team in both the semi-finals and the final after being diagnosed with a testicular tumour in 2022 shortly after joining Borussia Dortmund.
Ivory Coast have been crowned African champions, thanks in part to two decisive goals from Sebastien Haller, one in the semi-final against DR Congo and the other in the final against Nigeria. The Elephants have had an epic tournament due to the different circumstances they have faced.
The hosts made it through the group stage by the skin of their teeth, thanks to a goal from Morocco. In addition, their coach was sacked before they knew whether they would qualify for the last 16. To make matters worse, their most decisive player, perhaps a year and a half ago, did not know if he would be able to play in this tournament, as he had been diagnosed with a malignant testicular tumour.
The Ivorian signed for Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2022 after a great season at Ajax and as a replacement for Haaland. Just a few days after arriving in Germany, he was informed that he was suffering from the disease.
After overcoming his tumour, Haller made his comeback at the beginning of January 2023 in a friendly match between Borussia Dortmund and Fortuna Dusseldorf. He made his debut after overcoming the tumour in an official match against Augburg on 22nd January on matchday 16 of the Bundesliga. In fact, he played this match wearing special boots with the words “f*ck cancer” on them.
Little by little, the striker has been getting closer to his level and becoming more and more important in Dortmund. This has helped him to return to the Ivorian national team and to take part in the recent Africa Cup of Nations. His role in this continental competition is already known to all and his story has become an example of perseverance for everyone.
BeSoccer, “Sebastien Haller Journey from Hell to Heaven,” Besoccer.com (BeSoccer, February 12, 2024), https://www.besoccer.com/new/sebastien-haller-journey-from-hell-to-heaven-1301769.