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Why Franck Kessie Celebrates Goals with a Military Salute on the Field?

Why Franck Kessie Celebrates Goals with a Military Salute on the Field?

From qualifying for the AFCON knockout stage as one of the best third-placed teams in the groups of AFCON 2023, to sacking their coach mid-tournament, to ousting the defending champions, Ivory Coast has had one of the most inspirational and memorable triumphant runs in the history of the sport.

The AFCON final was worth every penny as well. Ivory Coast completed a remarkable turnaround after conceding early in the 1st half.

The Elephants showed unwavering determination in the second half, and their efforts paid off when Frank Kessié‘s header from Adingra’s corner leveled the score before Sebastien Haller’s tricky winner in the 81st minute.

The Elephants clinched their third continental triumph, and while Haller deserves credit, we mustn’t overlook Kessié’s pivotal role in reigniting hope among the 60,000-strong crowd at their home stadium of Alassane Ouattara. His goal celebration was just the cherry on top, adding to the euphoria of the moment.

Kessié’s goal celebration

Both Barcelona and AC Milan fans are more than familiar with Kessié’s goal celebration.

In a world filled with diverse out-of-the-box goal celebrations, Kessié’s stands out with a trademark military salute. With his right arm raised to his forehead in a salute-like manner and his left arm extended straight down by his side, it’s simple and yet distinctive.

In his AFCON celebration, Kessié stayed true to his trademark salute; however, he presented an embellished version of it. After equalizing the scores, the former Barcelona player sprinted towards the corner flag, leaping high into the air with his arms extended, before executing the iconic salute celebration upon landing.

People are in awe of this new elaborate version and have described it as the “coldest celebration” in a long time.

The underlying symbolism of the celebration

At first glance, Kessié’s salute may seem like a typical goal celebration, but this gesture carries profound personal significance for him.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Mundo Deportivo a while back, the then Barcelona midfielder Franck Kessié shed light on the story behind his unique goal celebration.

Kessié revealed that his goal celebration serves as a way for him to remember and pay homage to his deceased father. “It is a memory of my father. I do it because he was in the military, and later, in the war, he died, and that’s why I do this salute,” Kessié explained.

The salute, a gesture of respect used by his father in the military, became deeply ingrained in Kessie’s memory. “I used to see him at home, and when someone older than him arrived, he would give them this salute as a sign of respect for them, and that’s why this image stuck in my head,” he added.

Kessie’s father used to serve in the military forces for the country. But before that, he was a professional footballer for Ivory Coast. Unfortunately, he died of an illness when Kessie was only 11 years old.

His father’s influence paved the way for the footballing journey of Frank Kessié, allowing us to witness his talents on the pitch and contributing to Ivory Coast’s success in securing another trophy for their cabinet.

Kessié’s celebration serves as a poignant reminder that football goes beyond mere sport, resonating deeply with our inner values and emotions. Surely, wherever Kessié’s father is now, he must be watching his son with pride and saluting him back.