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AFCON 2023: Super Eagles vow to win trophy

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Super Eagles of Nigeria holds the record for the highest number of appearances at the AFCON semi-finals

The Super Eagles have restated their commitment to winning the 2023 African Cup of Nations final against host Cote d’Ivoire on Sunday.

William Troost-Ekong, Super Eagles captain, believes winning the Africa Cup of Nations trophy would be an “amazing” moment for him and his country and that it will be time to deliver on Sunday when the three-time African winners face hosts Ivory Coast in the final.

Nigeria beat South Africa 4-2 on penalties after full and extra time, finishing in a 1-1 draw to get to the final in Abidjan.

Troost-Ekong put Nigeria ahead with a penalty kick in the 67th minute, before South Africa’s in the 90th minute, which Teboho Mokoena converted.

The Super Eagles had goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali to thank after the Chippa United shot-stopper saved two penalties, denying Mokoena and Evidence Makgopa during the shootout to guide Nigeria to victory.

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Terem Moffi, Kenneth Omeruo, Troost-Ekong, and Kelechi Iheanacho all scored; however, Ola Aina missed his kick.

Troost-Ekong’s goal against Bafana Bafana brought his total to four in 15 games at the tournament, matching the 32-year-old goal record for a Nigerian defender held by the legendary Stephen Keshi, who scored four goals in 16 AFCON matches.

The victory advanced Nigeria to their first AFCON final since 2013, when they won the trophy for the third time in South Africa by defeating Burkina Faso with a single goal.

“You dream about moments like that,” Ekong told the BBC.

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“I’ve seen it so many times. And I’ve closed my eyes. To be there on Sunday and have the chance to do that will be amazing.”

Ekong, who has played in the 2019 edition in Egypt and the 2022 tournament in Cameroon, will be aiming to join the elite list of Nigerian defenders who have won the AFCON trophy, including Christian Chukwu, Keshi, and Joseph Yobo.

The Super Eagles are unbeaten so far at the tournament, having recorded five wins against Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau, Cameroon, Angola, and South Africa and a draw against Equatorial Guinea.

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