The Elephants of Ivory Coast have disappointed millions of their fans across the continent after crashing out of the Orange Afcon 2013 quarter-final in South Africa on Sunday from a surprise defeat to Nigeria 2-1.
It was a day to forget for the Ivorians who brought in the pitch their best line-up, including veteran captain Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure and Salomon Kalou. But they all floundered and wandered on the pitch like tourists as the Super Eagles dominated the first half from top to bottom.
Elephants were woken from their sleep after Nigeria’s Emmanuel Emenike took a powerful free kick to open the score for the Super Eagles who led 1-0 at half time.
In the second half, the game seemed to turn in favour of the Elephants who capitalised on that domination to equalise through a well-taken header of Cheik Tiote after being served by Drogba.
But it was not an Elephant’s Sunday. They wasted chance after chance and never really seemed to give their bodies and souls in the game, and they were surprised when Sunday Mba’s deflected effort went straight into the net, and won the game for Nigeria.
With the tournament favourites out of the way, pundits and analysts are now putting their money on Ghana, discarding ‘inconsistent’ Nigerians despite their success over Ivory Coast.
In the other West Africa derby, Burkina Faso beat Togo 1-0 to advance to the semi-finals for the first time in 15 years when they hosted the tournament in 1998. The goal was scored Jonathan Pitroipa in the extra-time (104th minute) after the two minnows were tied 0-0 after 90 minutes.
Burkina Faso will have to beat Ghana on Wednesday if they are to play in their first Afcon final, while inconsistent Nigeria face Mali.
*Photo by New Times.