The Nigeria Super Eagles will face Ivory Coast at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) on 18th January 2024. These sides have been amongst the most successful teams in the history of the tournament.
On one hand, the Super Eagles are three-time AFCON champions; they've come second four times, and third on eight occasions. As it stands, no country has won more AFCON medals than Nigeria (15 total medals); they've also reached the semi-finals more than any other team.
On the other hand, Ivory Coast have two titles to their name; they've been runners-up twice, with four bronze medals. The 2023 AFCON hosts have reached the semi-finals of this tournament on 10 occasions.
Considering these teams have consistently performed at this competition, it's no surprise that they've clashed a fair few times in Africa's biggest football tournament. In fact, the first ever encounter between Nigeria and Ivory Coast was in the qualifying rounds of the 1968 AFCON. Both teams clashed in a two-legged tie, with both skirmishes taking place in March 1967.
At the time of publishing, Nigeria and Ivory Coast have met 25 times. The Ivorians lead the head-to-head between these outfits with eight wins; the Super Eagles have seven victories, while the spoils were shared in 10 of their clashes. On that note, let's talk about the top scorers in previous meetings between Ivory Coast and the Nigeria Super Eagles.
Ivory Coast vs Nigeria Super Eagles top scorers
It's important to note that games from the African Nations Championships are not included.
Rashidi Yekini – 5 goals
It may interest you to know that Rashidi Yekini is the Super Eagles' all-time top scorer. Between 1984 to 1998, he earned 62 caps for Nigeria's national team, scoring 37 goals. This is at least 14 goals more than any other player who has donned the green-white-green.
That said, Ivory Coast's defenders did not particularly look forward to meeting Yekini on the field. The former Olympiacos player's first goal against the Ivorians came in a 1990 AFCON group stage match, where he scored the only goal in a narrow victory for the Super Eagles.
Three years later, the Super Eagles met Ivory Coast in the qualifying rounds of the 1994 World Cup. Yekini scored once in a 2-1 loss in the first leg, before scoring a brace in a 4-1 victory in the reverse fixture.
The last time Rashidi Yekini scored against Ivory Coast was in the 1994 AFCON semi-final, as the Super Eagles defeated their Ivorian opponents en route to the title. All in all, Yekini scored in four different matches against Ivory Coast, with five total goals.
Michel Bassole – 2 goals
Let's talk about that 1994 AFCON semi-final. Ivory Coast's Michel Bassole put up a solid performance for his country, giving them the lead twice. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough, as Rashidi Yekini's equaliser sent the game to extra time, where the Ivorians eventually lost. While Bassole has scored twice against the Super Eagles, both goals came in the same match.
Salomon Kalou – 2 goals
Besides Yekini, Salomon Kalou is the only other player to score in multiple Super Eagles vs Ivory Coast games. The former Chelsea player scored the only goal in a 2008 AFCON group stage match, and also in a friendly game in 2015. Interestingly, two of Ivory Coast's Victories over the Super Eagles were thanks to Kalou, as he scored the only goal in both games.
Thompson Usiyen – 2 goals
The Super Eagles met Ivory Coast twice in July 1977, in the qualifying rounds of the 1978 FIFA World Cup. The Ivorians suffered a humiliating 4-0 loss in the first leg in Lagos, as Thompson Usiyen scored twice in the first 30 minutes. The Super Eagles eventually knocked out Ivory Coast after a 2-2 draw in the second leg.
Jerome Lebri Manahou – 2 goals
Still on that two-legged tie in July 1977, where Thompson Usiyen scored twice in the first leg. The Ivorians tried to stage a comeback, as Jerome Lebri Manahou scored twice, cutting the Super Eagles' aggregate lead to two goals. However, the Super Eagles were back on level terms at the 90 minute mark, as Segun ‘Mathematical' Odegbami and Adokie Amesiemeka scored in the last 15 minutes.
This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago