Nigeria will have their sights on a fourth AFCON title, after edging out South Africa with a dramatic 4-2 penalty shootout victory in the semi-finals. Standing in their way is the host nation, Ivory Coast, who booked their place in the final with a 1-0 win over the DR Congo.

To win (90 min)
 Ivory Coast 39/20   
 Draw 16/10
 Nigeria 31/20   


Ivory Coast are the first host nation to reach the AFCON final since Egypt did so in 2006. As fate would have it, the Pharaohs who won the trophy that year on penalties against the Elephants after a goalless draw. This time around, Ivory Coast are now within a hair’s breadth of rewriting the history books.

The front line has been underwhelming to say the least. All six of the Ivorian’s goals at the tournament have been scored by different players, with the latest being Sebastien Haller. The Borussia Dortmund forward has been called off the bench on two occasions, before making his first start of the tournament in the semi-final clash with DR Congo. In that one, Haller attempted five of his team’s fourteen shots, scoring the only goal of the game.

The Elephants’ dismal showing in Group A had them on the verge of complete humiliation. So much so that then head coach Jean-Louis Gasset was dismissed mid-tournament and before the team knew if they’d be playing in the knockout stages. Just look at how far they’ve come …


This will be Nigeria’s first appearance in an AFCON final since 2013, when they went on to defeat Burkina Faso. Ahead of this instalment, the Super Eagles scored 22 goals across their 6 qualifiers and cemented their title credentials.

Since arriving at the tournament, their attack has blown hot and cold. Instead, it’s the defence, marshalled by William Troost-Ekong, which has earned acclaim. Excluding penalty shootouts, Nigeria have conceded just two goals in six matches. In addition to his defensive attributes, Troost-Ekong has scored from four of his five shots on target at the tournament.

Ademola Lookman has come alive in the knockout stages of the competition. The Atalanta based forward scored a brace as Nigeria ran out 2 nil winners against Cameroon in the round of 16, before scoring the solitary goal of the game against Angola in the quarters. They were pushed all the way by South Africa in Wednesday’s last-four clash, which could open the door for Ivory Coast.


PREDICTION: Ivory Coast to do it at home !

Despite losing their two group stage games, Ivory Coast find themselves in the AFCON final against Nigeria on Sunday. From the brink of group-stage elimination to the edge of glory! In Front of their fans, I expect them to get this one done.

Written by Desh Parthab