Jose Peseiro and his charges suffered their first defeat of the tournament in the final against Ivory Coast on Sunday, February 11, effectively losing out on the trophy.
William Troost-Ekong’s 38th-minute header appeared to have set the tone for yet another comfortable victory for Nigeria but they completely capitulated in the second half.
Backed by a charged home crowd inside the Olympic Stadium of Ebimbe, Ivory Coast rallied their way back to score twice in the last 30 minutes, as goals from Franck Kessie and Sebastien Haller won them their third AFCON title.
Tinubu salutes Super Eagles despite AFCON final loss
Nigeria’s inability to win the final means the country’s wait for a first AFCON trophy since 2013 will now continue, at least until the next tournament in Morocco when they can attempt to fix that.
And while some fans have singled out coach Peseiro and some of the players for criticism, President Tinubu commended the Super Eagles for their tenacious display in the Ivory Coast.
A statement released by the President’s special adviser on media and publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, on Monday said: “President Bola Tinubu salutes the Super Eagles of Nigeria for their tenacious performance in the final of the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cotê d’Ivoire.
“President Tinubu commends the team, the coach, the crew, and the entire management team for their hard work, assiduity, and sacrifice to come this far in the tournament, acknowledging the hurdles they consistently surpassed with steadily improving performance as they pulled through to the finals.”
What next for Super Eagles?
Nigeria will return to action in March, where a high-profile international friendly against Lionel Messi’s Argentina has been mooted.
They will then turn their attention to the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, with games against South Africa and Benin coming up in June.
There is also the small problem of deciding whether or not to stick with Peseiro as head coach after the Portuguese guided the Super Eagles to the final of AFCON 2024.