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Kenyan Coach Francis Kimanzi Makes AFCON Final Prediction Between Nigeria vs Ivory Coast
- Nigeria and Ivory Coast decide the 2023 AFCON winner tonight
- Nigeria and hosts Ivory Coast have won a combined five AFCON title
- Kenyan coach Francis Kimanzi has made his prediction for the final
Nigeria meets Ivory Coast in the 2023 AFCON final on Sunday evening, February 11.
The two nations have had contrasting journeys to the final, but that will be out of the window when the referee blows the whistle in the first minute.
Kenyan coach Francis Kimanzi has weighed in on the final and picked the team he expects to win.
The last few weeks of the 2023 AFCON have given us upsets, entertainment and the best of African football. The curtain comes down tonight on one of the best AFCON tournaments of all time.
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The Super Eagles are unbeaten ahead of the tournament, while hosts Ivory Coast have risen from the ashes of their disastrous group campaign, per CAF.
They lost two games, including an embarrassing 4-0 defeat to Equatorial Guinea. They fired their coach, Jean-Louis Gasset and needed a miracle to go through, per BBC. The other defeat was against Nigeria.
The two West African giants have won a combined five AFCON titles.
Kimanzi predicts AFCON final
Speaking exclusively to Sports Brief, Kimanzi, part of the Kenyan coaching staff at the 2019 AFCON, said he expects Ivory Coast to win because of their home advantage.
"You have to think about the hosts, because of the environment and the mental strength they have built. So that could be a big threat. Yes, they don't play good football, but they've learnt how to fight, so their mental strength is too high. So they could surprise [Nigeria] tonight."
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"They [Nigeria] are a better team, in terms of the quality of their game, but the final is a different game. It is more of a mental game. The home team always has that. They don't play good football, but they have the quality to compete. They've been getting stronger with time," he told Sports Brief.
Both sides have each won one title in the 21st century. Nigeria in 2013 and Ivory Coast in 2015.
What Nigeria need to beat Ivory Coast
Sports Brief earlier reported on things Peseiro's Nigeria need to do to defeat Ivory Coast in the final.
The first thing the Super Eagles need is to deal with the crowd. The Elephants are playing at home and will be cheered on by tens of thousands of fans in the stands.
The Super Eagles will also need to contain Franck Kessie, one of Ivory Coast's better performers at the tournament.