Nigeria FC record in the AFCON final

Nigeria FC record in the AFCON final
Photo by Icon Sport

So many players have featured for Nigeria FC at AFCON, scoring goals, winning titles and etching their names in gold.

The achievements of these players for Nigeria FC are why the Super Eagles are considered top dogs in African football.

On Sunday, the Super Eagles will look to spread their wings and soar one final time at AFCON 2023. Will they again make Nigeria FC the most talked about team in Africa?

It has been 11 years since the Super Eagles sat atop the pinnacle of African football. They are one step closer to their target but have the hosts to contend with in the final.

While fans look forward to an expected epic finale to the tournament, how many finals has Nigeria FC featured in? How many players have scored for them in those finals? How many goals have they scored?

The record of Nigeria FC at AFCON finals

Nigeria FC - Sunday Mba in AFCON 2013
Photo by Icon Sport

The Super Eagles of Nigeria have a solid record at AFCON, reaching the semi-finals 15 times and the final seven times.

Only Egypt has reached the semi-finals more than Nigeria FC, reaching that stage of AFCON 16 times.

While the Super Eagles have reached the final seven times (only bettered by Egypt – 10), the game against Ivory Coast on Sunday will be their eighth final.

In the eight finals they have appeared, they have played against only one West African country (Burkina Faso – 2013). The other opponents for the Super Eagles are Algeria (Twice – 1980, 1990), Cameroon (1984, 1988, 2000) and Zambia (1994).

They won three of these finals and lost four. The Super Eagles lost to Cameroon on the three occasions they met and to Algeria in 1990.

Only in 1984 and 2000 did Nigeria concede more than one goal in the final. They lost 3-1 in 1984 and played 2-2 in 2000 before losing via penalties.

Nigeria FC results in AFCON finals

Nigeria FC - Emmanuel Amuneke celebrates AFCON 1994 final goal
Photo by Icon Sport

The Super Eagles, then called Green Eagles, played their first AFCON final in 1980. Captained by Christian Chukwu, they beat the Fennec Foxes of Algeria 3-0.

Segun Odegbami opened the scoring in the second minute and got his brace in the 42nd minute before Mudasiru Lawal added the icing on the cake in the 50th minute. It was the first final for Nigeria FC and their first trophy.

The next decade was pain-filled for the Nigerian side. In 1984, the Super Eagles lost the final to the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon 3-1.

Mohammed Lawal put Nigeria in the lead in the 10th minute, but the Cameroonians stormed back through René N'Djeya in the 32nd minute.

In the second half, the Indomitable Lions scored two more goals through Théophile Abega and Ernest Ebongué.

Nigeria FC were back in the final in 1988 and clashed with their albatross – Cameroon. It was a tightly contested game that saw a disallowed Henry Nwosu goal and a 55th-minute Emmanuel Kunde penalty give the Cameroonians victory.

The 1988 final is remembered in the annals of Nigerian football as perhaps the most controversial.

Two years later, under the tutelage of Clemens Westerhof, the Super Eagles reached the final again. After losing the opening game to Algeria 5-1, they also lost 1-0 to the hosts in the final.

A 38th minute Chérif Oudjani freekick put paid to the Nigerian dream.

It took the Super Eagles four years to return to the final again. This time, Nigeria FC beat the Chipolopolo of Zambia 2-1.

The Zambians took the lead in the third minute through Elijah Litana, but Emmanuel Amuneke equalized two minutes later. Amuneke got his brace two minutes into the second half.

The Super Eagles had to wait six years to appear in the final again. They had to claw back from a 2-0 deficit after Samuel Eto (26) and Patrick Mboma (31) had given Cameroon the lead.

Raphael Chukwu pulled one back in the 45th minute, while Austin Jay-Jay Okocha got the equalizer two minutes later. However, the Super Eagles lost via penalties.

In 2013, the Super Eagles appeared in their seventh final, where Sunday Mba’s 40th-minute goal gave Nigeria a 1-0 win over Burkina Faso.

This article was most recently revised and updated 2 weeks ago

Chooka Izuegbuna is a Sports Journalist with 20 years of experience in print, TV and Radio. He has worked with some of the top media houses in Nigeria, including NTA Network, Channels TV, TVC, Silverbird TV and MITV. Chooka broke his sports reporting teeth with The Game Football Weekly in 2003 as a cartoonist and reporter.