Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa reflects on AFCON 2023 heartbreak, deflects blame to coach


Robert Abong’o

February 13, 2024 at 6:44 AM

  • Ahmed Musa was upset at Nigeria’s AFCON 2023 final loss to Ivory Coast
  • The Super Eagles were seen as the favourites to lift the trophy in Abidjan
  • Musa praised the team’s effort but deflected some questions to the coach

Defeat in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023 final was a bitter pill to swallow for Ahmed Musa and the Nigerian team.

Despite an early lead, they could not hold on as Ivory Coast staged a remarkable comeback, clinching the title with a late winner from Sebastien Haller at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium on February 11.

Musa, visibly upset after the match, acknowledged personal and collective disappointment, but also expressed pride in the Super Eagles’ journey to the final.

Nigeria forward, Ahmed Musa, was sad after the AFCON 2023 final loss to Ivory Coast. Photos: MB Media and Franck Fife.
Source: Getty Images

“That is football; someone wants to win, someone has to win, simple. We have to be proud of ourselves,” he stated, as captured by Sports Brief.

The Sivasspor man deflected questions about what went wrong for Nigeria, suggesting those inquiries were better directed at the coach, Jose Peseiro.

“I don’t know, I’m not the coach. I think the coach should have the right answers to this.”

The Nigerian team, previously viewed as the favourites to clinch the AFCON 2023 title, experienced a bitter defeat in a match filled with drama and tension.

Haller’s late goal for Cote d’Ivoire shattered the Super Eagles’ hopes as the hosts staged a remarkable comeback to secure their third continental championship.

Despite captain, William Troost-Ekong’s late first-half goal, Nigeria could not maintain their lead, succumbing to Franck Kessie’s equaliaer and Haller’s decisive strike in the 81st minute.

Ivory Coast’s victory secured their third AFCON title and marked a historic achievement as the first host country to win since Egypt in 2006, as reported by SuperSport.

Led by reigning African Player of the Year, Victor Osimhen, the Super Eagles had been dominant throughout the tournament. However, the hosts’ determination proved overwhelming, leading them to glory despite initial setbacks.

The Ivory Coast national team’s triumph is particularly remarkable considering their early struggles in the group stage.

Following a humiliating defeat to Equatorial Guinea, the team transformed and head coach, Jean-Louis Gasset, was sacked, as reported by the BBC.

Emerse Fae took over a stricken team mid-tournament and has gone on to write history.

Essien singles out Ivory Coast AFCON star

Sports Brief also reported on Ghanaian football icon, Michael Essien, extending congratulations to Simon Adingra, also a product of the Right to Dream Academy.

The Ivorian currently plays for Brighton and Hove Albion in the English Premier League and provided crucial assists for Kessie and Haller to score in the second half.



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