AFCON 2023: Super Eagles Goalkeeper Sends Warning to Ivory Coast, Yaya Toure Ahead of Group A Clash

AFCON 2023: Super Eagles Goalkeeper Sends Warning to Ivory Coast, Yaya Toure Ahead of Group A Clash

Ero Samson
updated at February 13, 2024 at 11:54 AM
In this article:
CAF Africa Cup of Nations logo
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Y. Touré
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  • The Super Eagles of Nigeria are set to face off against Ivory Coast
  • Both teams had contrasting results in their opening AFCON fixtures
  • A Super goalkeeper has sent a defiant message to the Ivory Coast team

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) has indeed unfolded in a manner only a few would predict.

The tournament, which started leaving a sweet taste in the mouth of host nation Ivory Coast, appeared to have left seemingly sour tastes in that of group opponents and fellow title favourite Nigeria.

Ivory Coast, Seko Fofana, Nigeria, AFCON, CAF
Ivory Coast players celebrate Seko Mohamed Fofana's opening goal during the Africa Cup of Nations group stage match between Ivory Coast and Guinea-Bissau. Image: Ulrik Pedersen.
Source: Getty Images

The Elephants of Ivory Coast secured a two-nil victory thanks to goals from Seko Fofana and Jean-Philippe Krasso while the Super Eagles of Nigeria could only muster a draw after falling behind against Equatorial Guinea.

However, ahead of the meeting between both teams — which has been dubbed largely by many as one of the fixtures of the tournament, Ivory Coast legend Yaya Toure shared his predictions for the clash, stressing the 2015 AFCON champions would run over Jose Peseiro’s men irrespective of the calibre of players being paraded by the Nigerians.

These remarks from the 40-year-old football icon seem to have stirred some talks in the Super Eagles' camp, prompting a response from a goalkeeper representing the national team.

Super Eagles goalkeeper ahead of Ivory Coast clash

In an exclusive interview with Sports Brief, Nigeria's Super Eagles goalkeeper, Olorunleke Ojo, expressed the team's indifference to the buzz generated by the Ivorian Camp.

“I am certain Nigeria will win this AFCON tournament as long as we have the support of Nigerians.
Yaya Toure is throwing his support behind the elephants of Cote d’Ivoire, and I would love Nigerians to do the same for us, too.
These little talks and support go a long way to strengthen the morale of the players through the course of the competition.”

Further stressing the qualities of the Super Eagles team, he stated:

“What calibre of players do Ivory Coast possess that we [Nigeria] don’t have?
Check the head-to-head, check player for player we are the better team.
We just need to put all the issues bedevilling the team to be put behind us and let us shift focus to the tournament proper.
Currently, all we need is the prayers and support of the fans, generally. Also, let us remain positive and surround our national team with loads of positive energy.”

Ojo's words seem to serve as a rallying cry, especially given the recent scepticism expressed by fans about the national team's prospects in the AFCON.

Despite the challenges, Nigeria aims to secure a crucial victory when they face Ivory Coast at the Stade Alassane Ouattara on January 18.

Yaya Toure hails Okocha

Sports Brief in a previous report highlighted Ivory Coast legend Yaya Toure hailed midfield maestro Jay Jay Okocha.

The former Manchester City star was tasked in a quick-fire interview to create his ultimate African football player.

Toure included Samuel Eto'o's right foot, Kanga Akale's left foot, Bakare Koni's speed, Didier Drogba's strength, and Jay Jay Okocha's football intelligence. The 40-year-old further took the time to salute the Nigerian maestro.

Ero Samson photo
Ero Samson
Samson Ero is a sports journalist with a track record of over five years in the Nigerian media industry. He graduated from Nigerian Institute of Journalism (2021-2023).