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AFCON 2023: Nigeria on a high before facing Côte d'Ivoire in the final

Nigeria-CAN 2023
AFCON 2023: Nigeria on a high before facing Côte d'Ivoire in the final

On Wednesday February 07, Nigeria confirmed their place in the final of the AFCON 2023 with a penalty shoot-out win over South Africa (1-1, 4-2). The Super Eagles reacted to this victory and have only one thing on their minds for the final on Sunday February 11.


Nobody believed in it, but they did it. The Super Eagles are in the final of the AFCON 2023. To do so, Nigeria beat South Africa in the semi-finals (1-1, 4-2). Quite a feat for the Nigerians, who are the only unbeaten team in the tournament. And yet, pessimism was rife before the start of the competition. José Peseiro's team was seen as a giant with feet of clay: a fiery attack, and nothing behind it. In fact, they are the tournament's best defenders, having conceded just 2 goals in 6 matches, 1 on Matchday 1 against Equatorial Guinea and 1 in the semi-final against South Africa. In between, there have been 4 clean sheets. William Troost-Ekong is one of the team's most consistent performers. The captain has proved himself to be unstoppable and decisive, scoring twice in the tournament. On February 11, he hopes to lift the trophy and make his dream come true. "You dream of moments like this," the central defender told BBC Sport Africa. I've seen it so many times. And I closed my eyes. To be there on Sunday and have the chance to do it will be incredible.


Coach José Peseiro also reacted after qualification.

However, according to him, it's only logical."When I signed the contract, I said I wanted to win the AFCON," said the Portuguese. In any case, I don't know if everyone believed in it or not. I've believed in it from the very first moment. We haven't won anything so far, we want to win the AFCON".

"We've shown real character"
Calvin Bassey has also played a key role in Nigeria's impressive run. On the bench on Matchday 1, the Fulham player joined the team on Matchday 2 against Côte d'Ivoire, and has never left the eleven since. The defender praises his team's state of mind."I think we showed real character. It just shows that we can do the dirty work. We just had to keep believing in ourselves.

In the semi-final against South Africa, Nigeria's hero was Stanley Nwabali. The keeper saved two South African penalties in the shoot-out. And with Troost-Ekong and Bassey ahead of him, the Super Eagles are the best defenders at this competition, conceding just 2 goals. All the ingredients for a serene final against Côte d'Ivoire. The two teams were in the same group, with the Nigerians winning 1-0 on Matchday 2...

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