Coach Emerse Fae Explains How Ivory Coast Stopped Nigeria From Winning 2023 AFCON

The caretaker coach of Ivory Coast, Emerse Fae, has described how his team managed to beat the Super Eagles in the 2023 AFCON.

On February 11, 2023, the Super Eagles of Nigeria had the opportunity to win their fourth AFCON title at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium, Ebimpe, Abidjan, in front of over 60,000 spectators.

Despite beating Ivory Coast in the group stage, the hosts of the tournament proved to be a very hard nut to crack in the final.

Ivory Coast enjoyed a massive possession of the ball, but the Super Eagles ended the first half with a 1-0 lead.

In the second half, the game completely turned in favour of the Ivorians as they scored two goals to end the encounter with a 2-1 win. The scoreline was enough to earn them their third AFCON title in style.

After the game, Emerse Fae, who was merely an assistant coach when the tournament started but was made the caretaker coach of the team after the sack of Jean-Louis Gasset, said his team took advantage of how tired the Eagles were heading to the second half.

The former Ivory Coast head coach stressed that he told his team to be more intense in the second half, which paid off favourably.

“We noticed the Nigerian players were tired in the first half. They were not at their usual best,” the Ivorian tactician told reporters.

“I told my players during the half-time break that we must increase the intensity of our game and it worked out well for us.

“It was not an easy game but the good thing is that we won at the end of the day.”

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Nigeria Vs Ivory Coast: Why I Didn’t Change Super Eagles’ Formation – Peseiro Opens Up

Super Eagles Coach, Peseiro Speaks On Osimhen Winning Ballon d'Or

Super Eagles’ head coach, Jose Peseiro, has explained why he did not change his tactics during the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations final against Ivory Coast.

Naija News reports that the Elephants of the Ivory Coast defeated the Super Eagles of Nigeria to win the 2023 AFCON in regulation time.

During the AFCON final match between Nigeria and Ivory Coast, Nigeria scored first in the first half with a goal from William Troost-Ekong’s header.

However, Ivory Coast equalized in the second half with a header from Franck Kessie.

The match remained tied until just a few minutes before the end, when Sebastien Haller scored a goal by flicking the ball past Nigeria’s goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali, leading to a victory for the host.

After the match, Peseiro faced questions regarding the team’s strategy of defending and absorbing pressure after gaining a one-goal lead.

He replied: “When you have a system that you have been using, and it has been working, you really don’t want to change it.

“It is true that I kept to this strategy until we were 2-1 down, and then I decided to change it.

“We conceded goals from some defensive errors, and they had a drop in level against the Ivorians.

Meanwhile, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) consoled Super Eagles goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali on Sunday night after Nigeria’s 2-1 defeat to Ivory Coast in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) final. 

Despite his impressive performance during the tournament, Nwabali was unable to lead Jose Peseiro’s team to victory against Ivory Coast.

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CAF Is Uncertain About Start Date For 2025 AFCON In Morocco

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) is uncertain how when the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations (CAF) will start in Morocco.

The 2025 AFCON is expected to take place barely two years after the conclusion of the 2023 AFCON. Note that the biannual football tournament ought to take place between June and July 2023. But was moved to January 2024 due to the weather conditions in Ivory Coast.

This shift might affect the subsequent edition of the tournament in Morocco as teams are yet to go through the rigour of qualifying for the tournament.

This has been made more difficult because the period that ought to be used for the AFCON qualifiers is expected to be used for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.

Earlier in the week, the Moroccan football federation announced that the 2025 AFCON will take place in the summer of the said year which is the most ideal period for the tournament.

Unfortunately, if the tournament takes place between June and July 2025, the tournament will clash with the expanded FIFA Club World Cup which will take place in North America.

If the 2025 AFCON is moved to the following year just like in the case of the 2023 AFCON, the tournament will take place in the same year as the first edition of the 48-team World Cup in the USA, Canada, and Mexico.

In a press conference in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on Friday, CAF president, Patrice Motsepe was asked when the 2025 AFCON will commence. Motsepe said, “The focus for all of us now is Ivory Coast.

“There are a lot of competing events at the same time but we are confident that it is indeed going to be around that time (2025 summer).

“We have to accommodate other competing competitions but the AFCON next year is going to be an immense success and we will make further announcements in due course.”

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Kelechi Iheanacho Reveals How He Felt Before Taking Match-winning Penalty Against South Africa

Super Eagles forward, Kelechi Iheanacho has described the moment he had to score the match-winning penalty against South Africa on Wednesday, February 7, as a “make or break” moment.

Kelechi Iheanacho, who was one of the last players to link up with the Super Eagles in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, ahead of the 2023 AFCON, hasn’t started a game in the tournament so far.

The Leicester City forward had not played any minute in the tournament before the South Africa vs Nigeria clash on Wednesday.

During Wednesday’s game, coach Jose Peseiro who is reportedly at loggerhead with the player before the tournament, introduced him into the game in extra time.

He couldn’t help the Super Eagles win the game within the extra period as the match ended in a 1-1 draw and was decided by a penalty shootout.

Fortunately for Kelechi Iheanacho, he was the last among the five players selected to take Super Eagles’ spot-kicks and successfully converted it to seal a 4-2 shootout win.

After the win, Iheanacho told reporters that he felt like the entire country was on his shoulder at the point of taking his spot-kick.

“I felt at that moment, I was carrying the hope of the nation on my shoulder. The penalty was either make or break but I thank God who made it possible for us to go through to the final,” Iheanacho said.

It will be interesting to see whether coach Jose Peseiro will give Kelechi Iheanacho any minute in the 2023 AFCON final against Ivory Coast at 9 p.m. on Sunday, February 11.

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I Want To Make Nigeria Happy With My Performance – Nwabali (Video)

Super Eagles goalkeeper, Stanley Nwabali has expressed his desire to make Nigerians happy after Nigeria’s victory over South Africa’s Bafana Bafana in the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals.

The Chippa United goalkeeper disclosed this in an interview with reporters following the semi-final match on Wednesday in Bouke.

Nwabali produced a man-of-the-match performance, saving two penalties as Nigeria powered their way into the Africa Cup of Nations final after a pulsating 4-2 penalty shootout win over South Africa in the semi-finals of the ongoing tournament in Ivory Coast.

He said, “I don’t really know how I am feeling. When I look around, because of Nigerians, I only want to make them happy and just make them feel good.

“I did not even expect this thing coming my way now but I give God the glory and I want to say a very big thank you to everyone, my club, Chippa United family, and my coaches here who always guide me.

“Today showed me that it’s going to be a D-day for us in the final but you know football, you can never predict but I wish it is going to come our way.

“They always know this slogan ‘you no go gree for anybody’ and I really want to do more for Nigeria, I love them all. Thank you to everyone who wishes me well.

See the video below.

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Naija News reports that the Super Eagles’ performance in the AFCON brought Nigeria to the final as they strive to secure another AFCON trophy.

It is the eighth time the Super Eagles will be playing in the AFCON final, having previously appeared in seven.

They won three of the final games in 1980, 1994 and 2013, while they lost four in 1984, 1988, 1990 and 2000.

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AFCON: France, Saudi Club Moves To Sign Stanley Nwabali After Nigeria Vs South Africa Match

AFCON: France, Saudi Club Moves To Sign Stanley Nwabali After Nigeria Vs South Africa Match

The talented goalkeeper for the Super Eagles of Nigeria, Stanley Nwabali, has emerged on the radar for some clubs in Saudi Arabia and France, as well as Kaizer Chiefs, a team in South Africa.

Naija News reports that Nwabali is currently the first-choice goalkeeper for South African club Chippa United, which plays in the Premier Soccer League (PSL).

However, the 27-year-old player has become highly sought after due to his exceptional performances at the ongoing 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cote d’Ivoire.

According to reports, there is strong interest from Kaizer Chiefs to secure Nwabali’s services, as he has proven to be a valuable asset.

This demonstrates the Nigerian’s skill and reliability in the competitive league.

Naija News reports that Super Eagles head coach, Jose Peseiro, recognized Nwabali’s abilities and selected him as the number one goalkeeper for the AFCON tournament, surpassing Francis Uzoho.

This decision has paid off, as Nwabali has only conceded two goals in six matches, against Equatorial Guinea and South Africa.

Nwabali’s outstanding performances have given the Super Eagles a fighting chance in the continental competition, which they last triumphed in 2013.

Speaking on the latest interest, Nwabali’s agent, Mohammed Lawal, has now hinted at a big move for the player.

“There is interest in France and Saudi Arabia. There is no surprise because of his performance during the Afcon tournament in Ivory Coast,” SNL24 quoted Lawal saying.

“I have only seen [Kaizer Chiefs links] in newspapers. I cannot comment on anything regarding local interest, please speak to the chairman of the club.”

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