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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

World at standstill ahead of AFCON finale

Story by Raynald Ngwarati

The stage is set for the much-awaited 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) final pitting West African rivals, Nigeria against Côte d’Ivoire at the Olympique Stadium of Ebimpè.

The curtain comes down today on the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) with with Nigeria taking on the Cote d’Ivoire at arguably the most sumptuous edition of the tournament in 34 years.

Only two nations have now cast their eye on the coveted silverware having survived the brawl with 24 other teams at the beginning of the tournament.

In a display of West African dominance, the hosts Côte d’Ivoire who scrapped through the group stages with a bit of fortune, have a tricky date with three-time champions Nigeria tonight.

The meeting is the second one in the same tournament for the West Africans who squared off in Group A, with Nigeria winning the date one-nil, however this time cup glory beckons for the victors.

If the statistics are anything to go by, Nigeria enjoy an edge over Côte D’Ivoire having won three out of the eight affairs between the two West African giants in Africa’s most prestigious football tournament.

With hosts Côte d’Ivoire hunting for glory in front of their home supporters, Nigeria look hungrier and are deemed favourites to win by the statistics.

As the whole world awaits to see a blockbuster, Saturday’s third place play-off which was the curtain raiser came with a promise thanks to end-to-end play between South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

South Africa triumphed to clinch bronze in the clash thanks to goalkeeper, Ronwen Williams again who saved two penalties to give South Africa a 6-5 penalty victory following a goalless draw.

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