The Elephants of Cote D’Ivoire have won the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) as they defeated the Super Eagles of Nigeria by 2 goals to 1 on Sunday.
The Nigerian team who defeated the host in their first meeting at the group stage of the tournament by a lone goal through a penalty well taken by William Troost-Ekong could not replicate the same feat as they looked like the shadow of themselves from the start to the end of the final.
Super Eagles took the lead in the 38th minute as William Troost-Ekong silenced the partisan crowd at Ebimpé’s Olympic Stadium with a header to the top of the net.
But Franck Kessié pulled the hosts level shortly after the hour mark through a downward header from Simon Adingra’s corner who pulled so many threats to the Nigerian’s midfield and defence.
Sébastien Haller snatched the spoils just nine minutes from time as he met another Adingra delivery with an outstretched leg in the penalty area.
The victory on their home soil made the Elephants who replaced head coach, Jean-Louis Gasset with Emerse Faé following a poor group stage performance the first nation after Egypt to win the tournament as host in 2006.
However, The Fans of the Nigerian team expressed their dissatisfaction with the team’s poor performance.
Friday Emmanuel, a fashion designer said he was not impressed with the way the Super Eagles approached the final match in comparison with their previous outings.
“I was not impressed with the way Jose Peseiro approached the game by parking the bus against the host country who have the support of their fans.
“If the Super Eagles had approached the game with a mass attack formation, they would have been crowned the champion, but we shall see what they will play in the next tournament.”
A veteran blacksmith, Ibrahim Oladapo while expressing his dissatisfaction, said “Ivory Coast fully deserve this win. Because they needed it more than Nigerians needed it. Their approach towards the game shows that.”
The Nigerian Super Eagles had been to the final eight times and have won it just three times in 1980, 1994 and 2013 respectively.
Also, the Ivorians have now matched Nigeria on three titles after emerging victorious at the 2023 Cup of Nations for the first time since 2015.