Nigeria vs Ivory Coast: 5 key players to watch


Nigeria and Ivory Coast are set to clash in the second group game of Group A, each coming off different outcomes in their opening matches.

The Elephants secured a convincing 2-0 victory against Guinea Bissau, while Nigeria had to mount a comeback to secure a draw against Equatorial Guinea. Jose Peseiro recognizes the importance of obtaining a positive result in this game to bolster their chances of progressing past the group stage.

 On the other hand, a win for Ivory Coast would see them through to the knockout stages with a match to spare. This sets the stage for a highly explosive encounter.

Here are five players to keep an eye on in the Nigeria vs Ivory Coast game:

Players to watch for in Nigeria vs Ivory Coast

Seko Fofana

Nigeria vs Ivory Coast: Seko Fofana is expected to lit up the stage
© Kim Price/Cal Sport Media/Sipa USA)

Seko Fofana played a pivotal role in Ivory Coast's opening victory, scoring the first goal in their 2-0 win against Guinea-Bissau, as well as the first goal of the tournament. Blessed with technical prowess and an eye for goal, Fofana is a key figure for the Elephants, aiming to propel them to another title.

His impressive performance in the first game has boosted his confidence, and he will look to make a significant impact against the Super Eagles on Thursday.

Victor Osimhen

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Photo by Icon Sport

Osimhen has been Nigeria’s talisman and primary attacking force for the past two years. Despite missing a couple of chances in the opening fixture against Equatorial Guinea, he showcased glimpses of his prowess by immediately responding when the Super Eagles went behind, eventually securing a point for Jose Peseiro's side. With physical presence and determination, the Napoli forward poses a constant threat. The reigning African Player of the Year will undoubtedly be a player to watch for fans and the Ivorian backline when both sides square up on Thursday.

Franck Kessie

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© Kim Price/Cal Sport Media/Sipa USA)

Kessie holds a pivotal role in the Ivory Coast midfield, and many will look to him to orchestrate plays against Nigeria. With an assist in the first game and tireless running, he poses a significant threat to the Nigerian side. Now playing in Saudi Arabia, the former Barcelona and AC Milan midfielder will hope to replicate his commanding performance against Guinea-Bissau when facing the Super Eagles.

Ademola Lookman

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Lookman has earned a spot in Jose Peseiro's starting lineup and was one of the few bright sparks in their opening match against Equatorial Guinea. Despite the disappointing draw for the Super Eagles, Lookman emerged as a constant threat down the right, looking to have a go at defenders. His quick feet and preciseness were crucial to an instant equaliser, scored by Osimhen. Lookman will look to build on his AFCON debut when the Super Eagles face the group leaders.

Ibrahim Sangare

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Photo by Icon Sport

A midfield powerhouse, Sangare plays a crucial role in breaking down plays and setting up his teammates. His imposing frame and exceptional work rate make him a key asset. Having delivered an excellent performance against Guinea-Bissau, Sangare is a shoo-in for the game against Nigeria. He'd look forward to causing more discord to a seemingly dysfunctional Nigeria midfield, whose problem has been compounded by injuries and a lack of adequate midfield talents at the tournament.

As the anticipation builds for the Nigeria vs Ivory Coast clash, football enthusiasts eagerly await the performances of these key players, hoping for an exhilarating encounter between two talented teams. The game promises to be a spectacle, with each player having the potential to influence the outcome and leave a lasting impression on the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations.

Nigeria vs Ivory Coast: 5 key players to watch
Andrew Randa

Andrew Randa is a seasoned Africa sports journalist, and a former Media Officer for Nigeria's U-20 national team. He is widely acknowledged as an authority on the NPFL and African football, Randa is esteemed for his expertise in football content creation. Furthermore, he holds the distinction of being Nigeria's foremost sports kit designer and a trailblazer in the realm of sports graphics in Nigeria.