Nigeria vs Cotê d’Ivoire: 10 star players to watch in AFCON final

The Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire will square off in the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations Final at 9pm (Nigerian time) on Sunday (today).

Nigeria vs Cotê d’Ivoire, a match between African football powers hoping to add more continental trophies to their collection will round off the 34th edition of Africa’s largest football spectacle.

Cotê d’Ivoire and Nigeria will both be looking to expand their trophy collections.

If the Super Eagles triumph, it will be their fourth championship; if Cotê d’Ivoire wins against Nigeria, it will be their third.

Ahead of Nigeria vs Cotê d’Ivoire, PUNCH Online takes a look at some of the main players who will matter most to both teams.

Super Eagles of Nigeria

Stanley Nwabali

The Super Eagles’ last line of defence. For the Super Eagles in Cote d’Ivoire,  Nwabali has been a revelation. Thanks to his spectacular saves, he has only conceded one goal in open play while leading the team to the finals.

The Chippa United goalkeeper was also the man of the match, as he helped Nigeria advance to the final by saving two penalties against South Africa in the semi-finals.

William Troost-Ekong

The captain of the Super Eagles has shown excellent leadership from the back on the pitch. In the powerful Nigerian onslaught, his leadership and expertise as the last line of defence have proven to be invaluable.

Troost-Ekong is a man who is always willing to take charge and stand up, so when the chips are down, he’s one for the big moment.

Victor Osimhen

The African Footballer of the Year winner has been a great asset to Nigeria. Victor Osimhen has been a problem to defenders despite not being able to score as much as he would have wanted. He has also created opportunities for his team to score goals, set pieces, and penalties.

The tournament’s final offers the ideal stage for the hitman to wrap things up in style. He will be trying to score a goal or two against the home team.

Ademola Lookman

Ademola Lookman will undoubtedly be hoping to give one final standout effort to cap off a fantastic tournament.

The dangerman’s pace, talent, and unwavering ability to find goals have scared defences. Lookman is undoubtedly a crucial player for the Nigerians as they try to win a fourth continental championship. He now has three goals and is eager for more.

Frank Onyeka

Known by many as “the tank,” Onyeka has played a crucial role for Nigeria in the midfield by winning balls, creating chances, intercepting passes, and man-marking opponents.

He is essential to the Super Eagles’ efforts to keep a clean sheet and prevent any form of conceding.

 

The Elephants of Cotê d’Ivoire

Sebastian Haller

He began representing Cotê d’Ivoire at the knockout stage. Every time Haller has been introduced, the hosts have found him to be crucial.

He performed admirably in their semi-final matchup with D.R. Congo, scoring the game’s lone goal to send his team to the final.

Seko Fofana

The Al-Nassr FC player has been the main catalyst for Cotê d’Ivoire during this tournament because of his intense devotion for the national team.

Fofana will be eager to create more history and, ideally, win the trophy for Cotê d’Ivoire, as he is already in history as the first player to score in the TotalEnergies CAF AFCON Côte d’lvoire 2023.

Fofana enjoying himself on the field is the hosts’ key to a fantastic game on Sunday.

Serge Aurier

The 31-year-old defender is very experienced, and he has proven it on the pitch each time he has been called upon.

Throughout this competition, Aurier has made significant contributions to Emerse Faé’s team both on and off the pitch.

He participated in the most recent TotalEnergies CAF AFCON final for Cotê d’Ivoire, thus he is familiar with what it takes to compete in and maybe win such a stage.

Simon Adingra

Adingra has been Cotê d’Ivoire’s main man in the tournament, posing challenges for opponents from the bench.

In their quarterfinal match against Mali, he came off the bench to score and contribute to their victory.

Emerse Faé will be largely dependent on the Brighton Hove Albion player, who provides him with options from the bench throughout the finals.

Franck Kessié

Kessié has put up outstanding performances for Cotê d’Ivoire throughout the competition, demonstrating his talent.

The host, who had a difficult time in the group stage, advanced to the quarterfinals thanks to his late equaliser in the round of 16 and winning penalty.

Kessié will be crucial for Cotê d’Ivoire in their pursuit of a third championship because of Nigeria’s superior all-around midfield player.

Credit Gist New Today News in Newspaper Nigeria Headlines

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