AFCON AFCON 2023: Kessi confident rejuvenated Ivory Coast will beat Nigeria in final

Ivory Coast midfielder Franck Yannick Kessie says it has been a turnover for his team and they can’t afford to falter again when they face the Super Eagles of Nigeria in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations final on Sunday, February 11.

The Elephants qualified for the round of 16 as one the best third-placed teams despite losing 4-0 to Equatorial Guinea in their final Group game. They went on to survive scares against defending champions Senegal as well as Mali in the quarterfinals before edging DR Congo on Wednesday night, February 7, to book their spot in the grand finale.

Kessie, who has established himself as a key figure in the middle of the pitch for the hosts, was named as the official CAF man of the match against the Leopards and his eyes are now firmly fixed on the trophy.

“As long as you still have a five or 10 percent chance you need to keep believing, because that is what makes football beautiful,” Kessie told the press after semifinal win over DR Congo, adding: “After the Morocco result we knew we had qualified and that changed everything.

“It gave us the strength we needed, it boosted us. We knew we couldn’t do worse than in the first round. We need to keep going like this because you can’t go all the way to the final only to then give up,” he added.

Ivory Coast and Nigeria met in Group A of the competition on January 18 with the Super Eagles winning 1-0 courtesy a William Troost-Ekong penalty. This is going to be the first final between two West African countries since the Ivorians beat Ghana 9-8 on penalties to win the 2015 edition in Equatorial Guinea.

Dennis Mabuka

Dennis Mabuka is a seasoned Kenyan journalist with 18 years of experience covering sports events. He is currently a sport content creator with

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