AFCON2023: Incredible football, devastating upsets

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The Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire came back from behind to defeat the Super Eagles of Nigeria 2-1 at the Allassane Outtarra Stadium, Ebimpe, Abidjan, capping the tournament of upsets and historical brilliance.

The 34th African Cup of Nations was crowned as a championship full of upsets after yet another one.

It also became history’s highest viewed AFCON, with an estimated 2 billion viewers tuning in to television.

The AFCON’s many upsets and the historically impressive football artistry on show during the group and knockout stages will live on in the minds of fans who were watching the tournament with their orange-clad passion, as well as the rest of the football world.

Ivory Coast crushed Nigeria in the championship match. The vibrant and diverse mix of cultures produced by the Elephants’ supporters brightened Abidjan’s dusty streets and made it convenient to attend numerous games.

The Ivorian soccer squad, who had sparked a fervent soccer nation with their remarkable play after rising from the dead, produced an even more amazing feat by defeating Nigeria to win their third AFCON championship. Cote d’Ivoire pulled off the most unlikely upset in Africa during the tournament’s title game by winning the AFCON.

Recall that Equatorial Guinea pulled off the biggest upset in the history of the Africa Cup of Nations, thrashing hosts Ivory Coast 4-0 to advance the little nation into the round of 16 as Group A champions and maybe eliminate the hosts.

The same Ivorian team who had secretly left the stadium and broken the hearts of a lot of its supporters returned to hoist the $7 million Afcon trophy. Discuss how the last will be first and the first will be last.

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With such accomplishment, Côte d’Ivoire became the first host country to advance to the CAF Africa Cup of Nations championship since Egypt did so in 2006, when the two teams drew 0-0 and Egypt prevailed on penalties to win the cup.

With the exception of Nigeria in 2000 (who lost 4-3 on penalties after drawing 2-2 with Cameroon), five of the previous six host countries to get to the final have won the competition.

At an average of 2.28 goals per match, a record 119 goals for a 24-team AFCON tournament were scored in the Ivory Coast, 17 more than in Egypt five years prior.

Going back to the Super Eagles, many Nigerians at home did not even think the squad would go to the knockout stages. Despite their early jerking, stuttering, and juddering, the team gained momentum to defeat Ivory Coast and right the ship before going to the round of 16. As the Eagles defeated the talkative, unstoppable Lions of Cameroon, hopes that they were prepared to go all out increased.

Prior to now, Victor Osimhen, the African football king, was a player who many soccer enthusiasts were talking about. There were strong hopes that he will score a ton of goals during the AFCON. Rather, he was limited to just one goal during the competition, which made him less of an African goal poacher.

Nonetheless, his quick reflexes and persistent play caused havoc to defenses. His productivity was unmatched. His script had a low grade of 4% conversion rate from CAF, and he was left out of the tournament’s best eleven. Instead, names were given to his colleagues, Ola Aina, Ademola Lookman, and William Troost-Ekong.

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Nigerians would not have realized that there was another capable goalie like Stanley Nwabali, according to Coach Peseiro. Nigerians shouted out when Francis Uzoho, the previous number one goalkeeper, struggled with form and made several blunders, his hands leaking in goals.

Peseiros resolutely maintained his position, daring his detractors to let him focus on his work. He believes that Uzoho is the only option. Ibrahim Gusau’s listening NFF was aware that disaster was approaching. He was dispatched to watch Chippa United goalie Nwabali in South Africa.

One of the most important positions is that of goalie. The hopes of the squad rest on a strong shot-stopper, who must be proactive, have accurate interception abilities, and be able to control the ball. We all witnessed that in Nwabali.

He is the reason the Super Eagles made it to the championship game. Without the squad, Peseiro would not have returned to dine and drink with our President and pick up our national honors. No number of confessions can make up for Peseiro’s many transgressions and weaknesses.

The pressure of our next World Cup qualifiers is too much for the Portuguese, whose main qualification was being a close buddy of the well-known Jose Mourinho. He should be fired for his conceit in disliking our own players from the Nigeria Premier League (NPFL). He is limited to believing in ready-mades.

While the majority of teams participating in the Africa Cup of Nations mainly depended on players based in Europe, South Africa distinguished itself by fielding a nearly exclusively home-based roster, with coach Hugo Broos heavily depending on the Mamelodi Sundowns team, who are the domestic powerhouses.

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Ten players from Sundowns, the Pretoria team known as the Brazilians, were on the Bafana Bafana team that faced Cape Verde in the quarterfinals.

Eight players, including captain and goalkeeper Ronwen Williams and standout midfielder Teboho Mokoena, who scored their second goal, started in their 2-0 victory over Morocco in the round of 16.

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