A clash of the titans awaits African football as Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire prepare to battle for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title, with Super Eagles head coach Jose Peseiro “determined” to bring the trophy home for the Nigerian people, as both nations seek glory for the continent’s biggest football prize.
The tournament has been full of drama, excitement, thrilling goals, VAR interventions and incredible storylines written into the history books of African football. The curtain will come down on the 2023 AFCON on Sunday when a new champion will be crowned.
Nigeria advanced through the semi-finals by defeating South Africa after a thrilling penalty shoot-out after a 1-1 draw after extra time. Super Eagles coach Peseiro highlighted Nigeria’s ambition at the climax of Africa’s biggest sporting event.
“I am determined to bring the AFCON trophy home for the Nigerian people,” Peseiro said, while acknowledging the vital role skipper Ahmed Musa plays for the team.
The coach maintained that Musa is an important member of the squad, highlighting his role as a valuable assistant, providing guidance and support as needed.
“The team values Ahmed Musa greatly. He plays a vital role as my assistant, offering advice and support whenever needed,” Peseiro added. “He is dedicated to his role and a skilled player.”
“We eagerly anticipate tomorrow’s game and have our sights set on winning the AFCON, with the hope that Musa will have the honour of lifting the trophy.”
Just like in Nigeria’s first six games of the tournament, Musa will not likely be named in the Super Eagles’ starting eleven against the Elephants. However, the skipper anticipates Sunday’s AFCON final, acknowledging the potential milestone of joining the elite group of players who have won it twice alongside Omeruo.
“As a team player, I always strive to perform my best and help my teammates achieve victory. It brings me great joy to see my team succeed not just for ourselves, but also for our country,” skipper Musa said.
“Similarly, when my teammates play for me and we win for our country, it is a moment of pride and accomplishment for all of us.”
“Winning the AFCON on Sunday would be a significant milestone for me as I’ll be joining the exclusive group of players who have won it twice, including Omeruo,” Musa added. “It will be a great privilege to make history.”
The Super Eagles Peseiro coach also gave an injury update on Sanusi Zaidu, after the defender picked up a knock in the match against South Africa.
“Sanusi Zaidu had his conditioning training yesterday and we have scheduled the final session for today” Peseiro said. “We will assess his availability based on his performance in training today.”
The Africa Cup of Nations champions will be crowned on Sunday when hosts Ivory Coast face Nigeria in the final at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan.
This year’s edition will come to be regarded as one of the greatest of all time and the final is set to be a fascinating contest between two giants of African football.
Can Nigeria win the tournament for a fourth time or will Ivory Coast be crowned kings of Africa on home soil?