AFCON 2023 Final: Ivorian Star Sebastien Haller Opens Up on How He Will Deal With Nigeria’s Defence

AFCON 2023 Final: Ivorian Star Sebastien Haller Opens Up on How He Will Deal With Nigeria’s Defence

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
updated at February 10, 2024 at 2:26 PM
In this article:
Sébastien Haller logo
Borussia Dortmund logoFIvory Coast logo
Ivory Coast logo
Cote DIvoire
Ivory Coast
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CAF Africa Cup of Nations logo
William Troost-Ekong logo
W. Troost-Ekong
PAOK Saloniki logoDNigeria logo
  • Sebastien Haller is poised to give Nigeria a showdown on Sunday
  • Haller's Ivory Coast will meet the Super Eagles in the 2023 AFCON final
  • The striker has revealed how he plans to breach Nigeria's defence

Ivory Coast hitman Sebastien Haller has outlined his strategy for confronting Nigeria's nearly impenetrable defence and their physical prowess.

Having netted the decisive goal in Ivory Coast's victory over DR Congo in the semifinals, setting the stage for a showdown with the Super Eagles, Haller is poised to spearhead Emerse Fae's squad in their quest for AFCON glory on home turf.

Sebastien Haller, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, AFCON, final, defence
Sebastien Haller shed light on what he plans to do against the Nigerian defence. Photos by ISSOUF SANOGO and Visionhaus.
Source: Getty Images

Despite recently returning from injury and tallying one goal in three matches, the 29-year-old forward is primed to pose a significant challenge to Nigeria's defence, widely recognised as the most formidable in the tournament.

Led by Greece-based central defender William Troos-Ekong, the Super Eagles' backline has conceded a mere two goals across six matches, a testament to their defensive solidity.

While Nigeria's defensive record underscores their formidable nature, Haller remains undeterred, anticipating a demanding encounter at the Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara on Sunday.

"I'm expecting a tough game obviously, we also know how the Nigerians play," the former West Ham United and Ajax Amsterdam striker said at Ivory Coast's pre-match press conference as captured by Sports Brief.
He continued: "So it's going to be a challenging game, a physically challenging game."

Detailing his strategy for undermining Nigeria's chances, Haller elaborated:

"It behoves us to widen the game and capitalise on or exploit their weakness by creating space in their defence."

Nigeria star reveals team's secret

Meanwhile, William Troost-Ekong, the vice-captain of the Super Eagles, has unveiled the key to the team's remarkable string of successes, as reported by Sports Brief earlier.

Speaking to Hot Sports Nigeria, the 30-year-old shed light on the crucial element driving the recent upturn in the Super Eagles' performance.

The Paok Thessaloniki centre-back emphasised that unlike previous Nigerian teams boasting players from top European clubs, the current squad lacks superstar status, thereby fostering a sense of unity and cohesion within the team.

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe photo
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe is a Ligue 1, Bundesliga, and La Liga editor with five-year experience. He previously worked with Sports Corna and 360SportsGH.