Loading...
Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Football | Afcon

Heavyweights light up Rustenburg



Nigeria will square up against pre-Afcon favourites, Cote d'Ivoire in the biggest quarterfinal clash at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg this Sunday.

The Elephants of Cote d'Ivoire are favourites to progress in this tie, as they are ranked Africa's number one and nine places ahead of their West African rivals, Nigeria's Super Eagles.

The depth of the Ivorian squad speaks volume with the like of Didier Drogba, Gervinho, Salomon Kalou, Lacina Traore, Romaric, the Toure brothers, Kolo and Yaya among others.

So far in this tournament, Cote d'Ivoire head coach, Sabri Lamouchi has used up 20 players in three games while his Nigerian counterpart, Stephen Keshi, has given 16 players the chance to make appearances in same number of matches.

In spite of the depth in Cote d'Ivoire's squad, Lamouchi and midfielder Yaya Toure have refused to write off Nigeria.

"Nigeria may be less experienced than previous Super Eagles squads but they have very young and talented players," said Lamouchi during Friday's pre-match conference in Rustenburg.

And Yaya Toure deflected the favourites tag saying: “I really don’t like talking about an upcoming match but I think Nigeria has a very good team and the match on Sunday will be tough. We are not favourites because the Africa Cup of Nations is very strong and I think the real favourites are Nigeria, Burkina Faso and others.”

Chelsea winger, Victor Moses, whose double set up Nigeria with Cote d'Ivoire, also acknowledged that the match will be tough for both teams.

"We are just concentrating on ourselves at the moment. We just want to do our best. It’s going to be a hard game for us, but it’s also going to be a hard game for them," Moses told Fifa.com.

The Super Eagles surely have their work cut out with midfield enforcer, Fegor Ogude, ruled out of this clash meaning Keshi will have to come up with a fresh game-plan to stifle the impressive Ivorians in the middle of the park.

For the Ivorians, this tournament offers most of their players in the twilight of their international career a last chance of an African title and losing to the Super Eagles will end that dream.

Ahead of this tie, the Elephants have the psychological edge having won the last two meetings against the Super Eagles in 2006 and 2008 editions of the Afcon with identical scorelines of 1-0.



Comments

More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Other Live Streaming

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Sports Talk



Carol Radull
The Chile lesson
Who would have known early on Saturday morning that it would be Chile and not Argentina holding...

Segun Odegbami
Vincent Enyeama versus the NFF
Who could have imagined that a small innocent comment by the captain of the Nigerian national team...

Dr Errol Sweeney
Are women refs better than men?
This coming weekend (4th and 5th July 2015) will see the final of two major soccer competitions in...

Sunday Oliseh
Cech just what the Dr ordered
Arsenal have been a bit lightweight in the goalkeeping department since the departure of Jens...

Neil Tovey
Why I answered Safa’s call
I am pleased to have agreed to a deal in principle to serve as Safa’s technical director for the...

Clyde Tlou
Time for SA legends to step forward
A lack of ambition is hampering the South African 1996 Africa Cup of Nations legends.