AFCON 2023: Ivory Coast vs Nigeria combined XI

The second round of group matches in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2023) starts on Thursday, January 18, with a blockbuster clash between hosts Ivory Coast and another favourite Nigeria.

The Elephants recorded a statement win in their opening game when they romped to a comfortable 3-0 victory against Guinea-Bissau in front of their teeming fans.

Nigeria, on the other hand, couldn’t live up to the billing, having been held to a 1-1 draw by Equatorial Guinea. The results of both matches make the upcoming clash even more important, as it could seal Ivory Coast’s place in the next round, get Nigeria back on track or further pile pressure on the Super Eagles.

Ivory Coast vs Nigeria combined XI

As we build up to Thursday’s big game in the AFCON, Afrik-Foot has compiled a combined XI of the best players of the two teams.

Between the sticks is Yahia Fofana, who kept a clean sheet on the opening day. The Angers shot-stopper has brought his club form, where he has kept 11 clean sheets in 16 matches this season, to the national team.

At right-back is Wilfried Singo, who narrowly beat Ola Aina to the spot. Singo, who plays for Monaco, was impressive against Guinea-Bissau with his marauding runs, while also putting in a great defensive shift at the back.

Ghislain Konan easily takes the left-back spot with Nigeria’s Zaidu Sanusi not doing enough against Equatorial Guinea to provide competition for the Al-Fayha player.

The centre-back pair for this combined XI is dominated by the Ivory Coast, with the highly-rated Ousmane Diomande and AS Roma’s Evan Ndicka getting the nod.

In the middle of the park, the trio of Alhassan Yusuf, Franck Kessie and Seko Fofana have the baton, with the latter assuming the role of an advanced midfielder.

Competition for the front three slots is keen, bar Victor Osimhen’s position as the starting striker. Ademola Lookman, however, takes the left side of the attack, while Jeremie Boga plays on the opposite side.

While some names from both teams couldn’t make our combined XI, they’re encouraging performances earned them a place on our substitutes list.   

See Afrik Foot’s combined XI for Ivory Coast vs Nigeria below:

Formation: 4-3-3

GK – Yahia Fofana

RB – Wilfried Singo

LB – Ghislain Konan

CB – Ousmane Diomande

CB – Evan Ndicka

CM – Franck Kessie

CM – Alhassan Yusuf

AM – Seko Fofana    

LW – Ademola Lookman

RW – Jeremie Boga

ST – Victor Osimhen

Subs:

Stanley Nwabali

Ola Aina

William Troost-Ekong

Ibrahim Sangare

Jean-Philippe Krasso

Nicolas Pepe

Alex Iwobi

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Emmanuel Ayamga

Emmanuel Ayamga is an African sports writer, with bylines on DW, Al Jazeera, World Soccer Magazine and These Football Times.