Ivory Coast striker Sebastien Haller is determined he will have no regrets after Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations final as he continues his recovery from cancer which threatened his career some 18 months ago.
Haller was diagnosed with testicular cancer shortly after joining Borussia Dortmund from Ajax Amsterdam in July 2022. The 29-year-old striker underwent two surgeries and chemotherapy in the ensuing months, before returning to action just over a year ago.
He could cap a successful recovery if the Ivorians beat Nigeria in the final in Abidjan.
Haller scored the only goal of the semi-final against the Democratic Republic of Congo that took the hosts to the final, after they were almost eliminated in the group stage.
Overcoming the cancer and the continued spotlight on his comeback has worn on Haller, who also played at West Ham United.
“I’m tired of it actually,” he told a press conference on Saturday.
“Obviously the last 18 months have been challenging for me and my family. I now take everything step by step and try to enjoy every moment. I don’t want to have any regrets.
“Given what has happened over the last months, it’s great today to be here in front of you and speak about the final. I want to enjoy it and hopefully tomorrow so will all the Ivorians.
“But I think it might take months or years to take it all in, what has happened over the last years,” he added.
Haller was battling an ankle injury at the start of the tournament and missed the group games, where the Ivorians lost to Nigeria but scraped through.
“But you cannot compare that game with the final. We know how Nigeria play and it will be a physical battle,” he predicted.
“We have come a long way and overcame difficult moments, but we have recovered and we want to take this second chance.”