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Why Nigeria lost Afcon 2023 final to Ivory Coast

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The internet and various social media channels have been inundated with thousands of questions as to why Nigeria lost the Afcon 2023 final to  Ivory Coast, the host country, on Sunday night, February 11, 2024.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria started the championship with a poor performance, playing a1-1 draw against Èquatorial Guinea in theIr first group stage match.

The Jose Peseiro team would later bounce back to defeat Ivory Coast 1-0 in their following game to book a place in the knock out stage of the championship.

This medium analysed some of the reasons responsible for Nigeria stunning defeat in the hands of the Elephants whom the Super Eagles have earlier beaten in their second group stage match.

To begin with, many football pundits adduced Super Eagles’ loss in the final to the fact that the Nigerian team underrated the Ivorians, noting that Peseiro was unprepared against the Elephants who had loaded their midfield with heavyweight players compared to the likes of Alexander Iwobi who had failed to live up to expectation in the just-concluded tournament.

Second, Jose Peseiro used players like Frank Onyeka and Alex Iwobi out of positions, leading to inefficiency in the team. Though, Onyeka put up a sterling performance. Iwobi was made to sit deep in the midfield, thereby blunting Super Eagles’ attacking instincts.

More so, many believed he should have started Villareal winger, Samuel Chukwueze ahead of Simon Moses, who has been playing with a lot of sparks and helping the Super Eagles on the left wing.

Sitting deep at the back, Jose Peseiro received barage of blames for his style of play against the Ivorian teams, asking his men to continue to absorb pressure from the elephants instead of counter attacking Ivory Coast.

He failed to change his pattern against the Orange team, with every chance was being targeted at Striker Victor Osimhen who was practically unable to turn things around, leading to tactical failure.

The Green White Green team’s over dependence on striker Victor Osimhen to do miracle within the oppositions’ vital area contributed to Super Eagles’ loss in the final.

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