Sunday Nigeria Vs Côte d'Ivoire (Alassane Ouattara Stadium) Kickoff: 10PM Nigeria and Côte d'Ivoire will lock horns in the Africa Cup of Nations 2023 final at the Alassane Ouatarra Stadium, Ebimpe, on Sunday, February 11. It will be a battle of West African giants with Nigeria chasing the fourth title, having previously lifted it in 1980,1994 and 2013, while the Elephants, who have the trophy twice in 1992 and 2015, are eyeing the third star on the shirt. ALSO READ: CAF increases 2023 AFCON prize money by 40 percent Nigeria have won three times in their last five meetings with Côte d'Ivoire. Their last match was on January 18 when a William Troost-Ekong penalty won the day for Nigeria in an AFCON 2023 Group A encounter. Many things have changed especially for the Ivorians since that game. They died thrice but refused to be buried and resurrected at the end. First, they were on the verge of crashing out of the tournament after losing 4-0 to Equatorial Guinea in their last Group game. But they miraculously survived as they grabbed the final spot of the best third-placed teams to qualify for the round of 16. They again pulled an 85th minute equalizer against defending champions Senegal before going on to win on penalties in the round of 16 game. Again, against Mali in the quarterfinals, they had a red card but pulled a 94th minute equalizer through Simon Adingra before Oumar Diakite scored the winner in the 120th minute. Yes! This has been the transformation of the Ivorians under interim Emerse Fae who is at the helm since the sacking of French coach Jean Louis Grasset. They refused to give up and the technical and tactical acumen of Fae has been exceptional. For Nigeria, considering their poor output before the tournament which saw them drawing with Lesotho and Zimbabwe in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers, only a few were giving them a chance. But Jose Peseiro was smart enough by identifying the weakest link to fill the goalkeeping gap left by injured Francis Uzoho. He got a perfect replacement in Chippa United shot stopper Stanley Nwabali and the Super Eagles have been tight at the back. They have conceded just two goals so far, first against Equatorial Guinea through star Iban Salvador in the Group stage and South Africa in the semifinals. The game between two of the African football giants will be a different ball game altogether. The Ivorians now have a potent striker upfront in the person of Sebastien Haller who missed the Group stage games through injury. The Borussia Dortmund star rose to the occasion and netted a sublime goal in the semifinal against DR. Congo to propel Cote d'Ivoire to the final. Nigeria will depend on the likes of Moses Simon, Ademola Lookman and Victor Osimhen. Though Osimhen has netted just once in the competition, his hold up play has been massive, and he drags defenders to allow others to score. It will be an intriguing final where the Ivorians will be looking to make the best of their home advantage and lift the title in front of over 60,000 spectators inside the Alassane Ouattara Stadium. The Ivorian midfield comprising of Franck Kessie stands tall and it will be one of the deciding factors of the game, their home support could be an extra motivation. On head-to-head basis, Nigeria have always been a bogey side for the Ivorians but this might probably be a different story after 90 minutes. Meanwhile, Ghana legend Abedi Ayew 'Pele' and other high profile African players including Roger Milla, Nwankwo Kanu and Gadji Celi have received a special invitation from CAF President Patrice Motsepe. The invite is aimed at honouring them for their contribution to African football in the past years.