By Wale Mustapha
Ivory Coast are aiming to have their pound of flesh when they take on Nigeria’s Super Eagles in the final of 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON tournament on Sunday in Abidjan.
The hosts of the 34th edition of the AFCON had lost 1-0 to Super Eagles the group stage thanks to second half penalty converted by Captain William Troost-Ekong.
The Ivorians secured ticket to the next round of the competition with just three points and have steadied through the tournament till the final.
As the Elephants will be hoping that thunder does not strike on the same spot against Nigeria on Sunday, Nigeriafootball.ng picked five players that could make that happen for the Ivorians.
The AS Roma defender is the most consistent in the Ivorians defense having featured in all the games and has been excellent for the team.
One will argue that with his presence, the team was still conceding but it could have been more worse without him.
Ndicka won most tackles and aerial duels among Ivory Coast defenders.
He will be the perfect mercenary needed to keep out Victor Osimhen haven known the Nigerian striker in the Serie A.
The midfielder has being an integral member of the Ivory Coast team at the tournament.
He scored the tournament’s first goal with a curler against Guinea-Bissau.
The 28 year old player has also provided an assist with one of his creative moves.
The Super Eagles’ midfielders will need to keep him in check and deny him any chance to take aim at goal as it’s one of his assets.
The former Barcelona midfielder is arguably the driver of the team.
Due to his creativity and defensive abilities, Kessie dictates most parts of Ivory Coast attack and can also form a strong shield for the defense.
With a goal and an assist to his credit at this tournament, Kessie will want to add to his tally on Sunday.
It may be difficult to stop him but his influence can only be limited by timely check on him from wrecking havoc on Nigeria.
Haller will be writing a new football story the Sunday’s final against Nigeria.
The Borrusia Dortmund striker who made a surprise return to football in 2023 after he was diagnosed of cerebral cancer in 2022 has become a menace to defenders since he shake off an injury that kept him out of group stages.
He has since established himself as me to be fared and will be handful for Super Eagles’ defenders on Sunday.
He will have height advantage over Nigerian defenders but can be kept out of danger areas to receive any threatening deliveries.
Adingra is another player that could cause more problems for Nigeria with his pace, dribbles and craftiness.
The Brighton winger was instrumental to Ivory Coast’s comeback win against Mali in the Quarterfinal with a stoppage time equalizer and has gone on to be influential in the team.
He operates from the flanks which means Nigeria’s full backs must be at their very best to ward him off from causing problems for the team.