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Nigeria’s National Team at the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations

Nigeria’s National Team at the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations

The AFCON 2024 was perhaps one of the most exciting editions in the past years. The hosts Ivory Coast, managed to grab the title on their home soil. However, at some point, they were threatened to quit during the group stage. 

We could not miss out on the Nigerian national team. José Peseiro’s side reached the final and even though they were leading after the first half, conceded two goals from Ivory Coast. In the following article, we will have a detailed look at the Super Eagles’ performance and key players from the squad. 

About the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Tournament

The Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) is Africa’s top-tier international men’s football championship. The tournament is organised by the Confederation of African Football (CAF). It showcases the rich talent and competitive spirit of African nations. 

The competition, first held in 1957, has grown in popularity, occurring biennially in odd-numbered years. It features teams across Africa who have successfully made it through a qualifying phase. The most successful team is Egypt with seven titles to their account.

AFCON holds a significant place in the football world. It is not just a sporting event, but a celebration of African culture and unity. The tournament garners global attention and according to stats and various football news, nearly 2 billion people watched Afcon on TV in 2024. 

Brief Overview of Nigeria’s National Football Team

Nigeria’s national team performance

Known as the Super Leagues, the Nigeria national football team are one of the top representatives of Africa. It is governed by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). 

The team’s history in international football is rich and storied, marked by remarkable achievements and memorable moments. They have made the World Cup debut in 1994 and since participated in several editions of the tournament.

The Super Eagles have also made significant strides in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), winning the prestigious tournament three times. Their victories in 1980, 1994, and 2013 have cemented their status as one of Africa’s football powerhouses. Also, they passed the Africa Cup of Nations qualification without much effort.

Key Players and Team Composition

In 2024, they arrived at the tournament as one of the favourites to clinch the title. Under José Peseiro the Super Eagles played attacking and exciting football. 

The main reason is the presence of high-profile players from the top five European tournaments. In the roster, they had players such as Victor Osimhen, who won Serie A with Napoli and became the top goalscorer. Ademola Lookman, playing for Atalanta is another noteworthy talent.

The squad they had at AFCON 2024 was young with most players being under 30. This was demonstrated in each match, where each footballer played 90 minutes full of energy. 

Qualification Process for AFCON 2024

Nigeria had one of the best Africa Cup of Nations Qualification Results. They had 15 points in six matches, scoring 24 goals and conceding only four. In the group, they were with Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, Sao Tome and Principe and Mauritius. No wonder, they easily got the first place, losing only to Guinea Bissau.

In a match against Sao Tome and Principe, they won 0-10 away, marking one of the most memorable moments in the qualifiers. Victor Osimhen managed to become the top goalscorer with 10 goals. 

Performance at AFCON 2024

Final outcome of the AFCON 2024

Nigeria started the group started the group stage rather slowly. In the first match against Equatorial Guinea, they were considered favourites but the opponents managed to snatch a 1-1 draw. 

However, the succeeding two games were convincing. The Super Eagles defeated two strong teams – Ivory Coast and Guinea Bissau with a 1-0 score. However, it was not enough to get the first place due to the goal difference.

In the ⅛ finals of the Africa Cup of Nations 2024, they took on Cameroon and thanks to Ademola Lookman’s brace, they advanced to the next round, defeating Angola 1-0. As for the semifinals and the final we will talk about them in the following paragraphs. 

Key Moments and Standout Performances

One of the key moments was perhaps the penalty shootout against South Africa. Bafana Bafana were one of the discoveries of the tournament and against Nigeria, they equalized in the final minutes of the regular time. 

However, it was not the main part of the story. Super Eagles were leading the match comfortably 1-0 and Victor Osimhen gave his team a 2-0 lead. However, the goal was disallowed after the VAR review and South Africa were awarded a penalty. Even such a surprising outcome they emerged victorious in the penalties.

Final Outcome

The final against Ivory Coast started well for Nigeria. In the 38th minute, William Troost-Ekong headed the ball towards the goal from close range and left the goalkeeper no chance. In the second half, they had the initiative, but in the 62nd minute, Franck Kessie met the corner and planted a header into the right side of the goal.

Perhaps all players in the squad were looking forward to extra time but the cross from Simon Adingra was successfully converted by Sebastien Haller. The forward put the ball into the top right corner and gave his team a lead.

In the remaining minutes, Nigeria created no tangible chances and got a silver medal only. While the final result was disappointing, the Super Eagles demonstrated a high level of resistance and unity. 


For any team, the desired result is to claim the title and return back as champions. The AFCON 2024 had a lot of strong teams including Senegal, Algeria, and Egypt and none of them reached the final stage of the competition.

On the other hand, Nigeria showcased real teamwork in AFCON matches. Unfortunately, they were unlucky in the final and failed to grab their fourth AFCON title. However, we can anticipate more from Nigeria as they have a lot of young and quality players who can prove themselves in the future at both domestic and international levels. 


Which Players Were Notable From the Nigeria Squad?

Based on the results and performance, we can point out two main players – Victor Osimhen and Ademola Lookman. They were the main drivers and catalysts of the offence and Nigeria’s attack mainly depended on the following footballers. 

Did Nigeria Make It to the Final of the AFCON 2024?

Yes, Nigeria made it to the finals. On their way, they beat Cameroon, Angola and South Africa. They faced resilience from South Africa but eventually defeated them in the penalty shootout. 

Who Was the Top Goalscorer In the Tournament?

The top goalscorer of AFCON 2024 was Emilion Nsue from Equatorial Guinea with five goals. As for Nigeria, both Ademola Lookman and William Troost-Ekong had three goals to their account. 

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