Nigeria’s 2013 AFCON Run Compared to 2023 Tournament, Can They Win It Again in Ivory Coast?

Nigeria’s 2013 AFCON Run Compared to 2023 Tournament, Can They Win It Again in Ivory Coast?

Edwin Kiplagat
updated at February 2, 2024 at 1:23 PM
In this article:
CAF Africa Cup of Nations logo
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Victor Osimhen logo
V. Osimhen
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J. O. Mikel
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  • Nigeria's last Africa Cup of Nations title came in 2013 in South Africa
  • The Super Eagles are looking to repeat the same in the 2023 edition
  • Their 2013 and 2023 campaigns are similar ahead of the quarter-final

Nigeria is one of Africa's biggest names in football, but they have found success in the Africa Cup of Nations hard to come by in the last few years.

The Super Eagles last won the tournament in 2013, but that was their first AFCON title since 1994. That is underwhelming, considering the talent they have produced over the years.

Nigeria, John Obi Mikel, Victor Osimhen, Super Eagles, Stephen Keshi, Jose Peseiro, Alex Iwobi, Victor Moses
John Obi Mikel hopes Victor Osimhen can bring the AFCON title back to Nigeria. Photos by Ian Walton and Visionhaus.
Source: Getty Images

In the 2023 tournament, they have a golden opportunity to end their title drought. They face Angola in the quarter-final, and if they prevail, South Africa or Cape Verde await in the semis.

They are one of the 'big teams' left in the competition and are the overwhelming favourites to win the AFCON.

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It's over a decade since they won their third title, and they still have a lot to prove in Ivory Coast. How does their 2023 run compare to the surprise 2013 victory?

Nigeria's 2013 AFCON group stage

Stephen Keshi's side were placed in Group C alongside future champions Zambia, Ethiopia, and Burkina Faso.

The Super Eagles were held to a 1-1 draw against final opponents, Burkina Faso. Emmanuel Emenike scored in the 23rd minute but were denied a victory by an Alain Traore equaliser.

They drew 1-1 in their second group game against Zambia. The Chipolopolo scored another late goal to steal a draw against Nigeria. Emenike scored for the Super Eagles in the first half, but Zambia's goalkeeper, Kennedy Mweene, rescued a point with a penalty.

Nigeria got their first win in the group stages against Ethiopia. Two Victor Moses penalties sealed a quarter-final spot for the West Africans.

Nigeria in 2013 AFCON knockout stage

They eliminated favourites, Ivory Coast in the quarter-finals, with Emenike and Sunday Mba scoring. Cheick Tiote drew the Elephants level just after half-time but Mba scored the decisive goal late in the game.

Eliminating an Ivory Coast squad full of top players from European clubs was one of the highlights of the tournament.

The Super Eagles thrashed Mali 4-1 in the semi-finals to set up a date with Burkina Faso in the final. Elderson Echiejile, Brown Ideye, Emenike, and Ahmed Musa got the goals for Nigeria.

In the final, Mba was the hero of the night as he scored a brilliant goal in the 40th minute. The goal secured Nigeria's third AFCON title, per the BBC.

Nigeria's squad in Ivory Coast for the 2023 AFCON is definitely better than the 2013 team. Despite many players pulling out with injuries, the Super Eagles boast a fearsome attack led by African Footballer of the Year, Victor Osimhen.

Nigeria's 2023 AFCON so far

The Super Eagles 2023 tournament is almost similar to the 2013 edition. In 2013, they went unbeaten. In Ivory Coast, they have not tasted defeat after four games.

Nigeria were held to a 1-1 draw against Equatorial Guinea in their opening game, with 1-0 wins following against Guinea-Bissau and hosts, Ivory Coast.

They easily beat arch-rivals, Cameroon in the Round of 16. They play Angola in the quarter-final on Friday, February 2.

Their defence is slightly better in 2023 compared to 2013 after the first four games. They have conceded just once and that goal came in their opening game. Their defence has recorded three clean sheets in a row.

Keshi's team had conceded three goals in their first four games in South Africa in 2013.

Can they repeat the 2013 achievement this time around?

Nigeria's Peseiro wary of Angola

Sports Brief also previously reported on Super Eagles coach, Jose Peseiro explaining why Nigeria are taking Angola seriously.

"We must take this opponent seriously, so we will continue to sleep early and eat pasta," he laughed. "Jokes aside, all the teams at this stage are capable of winning the tournament."

Angola thrashed Namibia 3-0 in the Round of 16 after a chaotic first half where their goalkeeper was shown a straight red card.

Edwin Kiplagat photo
Edwin Kiplagat
Edwin Kiplagat has five years of experience in journalism working as a Sports Editor at Africa Insight Communications and ESPN. Edwin Kiplagat is a Bachelor's Degree holder in journalism from the Multimedia University of Kenya.