Nigeria vs Ivory Coast: Leagues That Have Produced Most Players in AFCON 2023 Final

Nigeria vs Ivory Coast: Leagues That Have Produced Most Players in AFCON 2023 Final

Martin Moses
updated at February 13, 2024 at 11:54 AM
In this article:
English Premier League logo
ENG Premier League
Italian Serie A logo
ITA Serie A
French Ligue 1 logo
FRA Ligue 1
Saudi Professional League logo
KSA Professional League
Saudi Arabia
Portuguese Primera Liga logo
Liga Portugal
CAF Africa Cup of Nations logo
Victor Osimhen logo
V. Osimhen
Napoli logoFNigeria logo
Sébastien Haller logo
Borussia Dortmund logoFIvory Coast logo
Ghana Dream FC logo--
  • Nigeria and Ivory Coast have a host of players in major European leagues
  • The two will battle it out for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations title on February 11
  • Sports Brief takes a look at the leagues with the most players of the two finalists

Nigeria will walk out onto the Alassane Ouattara pitch on February 11 to take on hosts Ivory Coast in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations final.

It isn't a final many, including supercomputers, had in mind, but after a couple of plot twists and borderline shocks, the home supporters will be enthralled that the Elephants made the final after a demoralising group campaign.

Nigeria vs Ivory Coast, AFCON 2023, Victor Osimhen, Serie A, Premier League, Franck Kessie
Ivory Coast players celebrate after qualifying for the 2023 AFCON final. Photo by Yvan Gabon.
Source: Getty Images

The two squads boast of players who ply their professional football with the much-established European leagues. Victor Osimhen, for instance, guided Napoli to their first Serie A win last season.

The scheduling of the Africa Cup of Nations in the middle of the season is often dreaded by European clubs as most players have to travel back to the continent to honour national commitments. If players reach the latter stages of the competition, a club might go a month plus without using their player.

Leagues with most players in AFCON 2023 final

Ahead of the final, we look at the leagues that will have the most representatives of the 52 players Nigeria and Ivory Coast called up.

5. Portugal and Saudi Arabia - four players each

Nigeria has three players who turn out for Portuguese sides led by wingback Zaidu Sanusi (Porto). Boavista duo Bruno Onyemaechi and Chidozie Awaziem were also called up. Ousmane Diomande (Sporting CP) is the only Ivorian who plays in Portugal.

On the other hand, Nigeria's current squad has no players in the Cristiano Ronaldo-led Saudi Pro League. Ivorian midfield engine of Seko Fofana (Al-Ettifaq) and Franck Kessie (Al-Ahli) were among the players who moved to the Middle East at the start of this season. The former dumped Ronaldo's Al-Nassr in January to join Steven Gerrard's side as Jordan Henderson's replacement.

The other players are Ghislain Konan (Al Feyha) and Idrissa Doumbia (Al Ahli).

4. Italy - five players

The Serie A will have five of its players in the final, led by the already-mentioned Napoli's Osimhen. The reigning African Player of the Year is joined by his attacking teammates in the Super Eagles camp, Ademola Lookman (Atalanta) and Samuel Chukwueze (AC Milan).

The Ivorians has Christian Kouame (Fiorentina) and Evan Ndicka (AS Roma).

3. France - six players

Ivory Coast is a French-speaking country, and it is no surprise they have four players playing in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2. Jeremie Boga (Nice), Oumar Diakite (Stade Reims), Wilfried Singo (AS Monaco), and goalkeeper Yahia Fofana (Angers).

Moses Simon of Nantes and Terem Moffi of Nice are the only Nigerians in this category. The latter was, in fact, a late replacement for Victor Boniface.

2. Turkey - seven players

The Turkish league has proven to have a strong selling point for top stars, with Nigeria's contingent having four players in different clubs in the Super Lig.

Captain Ahmed Musa (Sivasspor) leads the pack alongside fellow forward Paul Onuachu (Trabzonspor). The defensive duo of Samuel Osayi (Fenerbahce) and Kenneth Omeruo (Kasimpasa) complete the list.

Serge Aurier recently completed a move to Galatasaray to join his compatriots Max-Alain Gradel (Gaziantep) and Nicolas Pepe (Trapzonspor).

1. England - eleven players

Often considered the best league in the world, the English division will be assured of celebrating African champions on Sunday despite how the game goes.

Nigeria leads here with seven players, with some playing in the Championship after suffering relegation last season. Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City), Joe Aribo (Southampton) and Semi Ajayi (West Brom) are in the Championship, while Ola Aina (Nottingham Forest) joins the Fulham duo of Calvin Bassey and Alex Iwobi in the top-flight.

Nottingham is also represented in the Ivorian squad with Willy Boly and Ibrahim Sangare. Brighton's Simon Adingra and Hull City's Jean-Michael Seri complete the list.

Other mentions

Other top leagues like the German Bundesliga and Spain La Liga only have two and one player, respectively. Jonathan Bamba of Celta Vigo will be the only player from Spain in the final.

Gary Neville praises AFCON officiating

Sports Brief has also reported that Gary Neville has lauded the usage of the VAR and overall level of refereeing at AFCON 2023.

The Manchester United legend joined in with the praises, claiming that England and the rest of Europe should pick a couple of lessons from the tournament in Ivory Coast.

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Martin Moses
Martin Moses is a sports journalist with over five years of experience in media. He graduated from Multimedia University of Kenya (Bachelor of Journalism, 2017-2021)