In an exciting quarter-final result at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, expectations are high for Wednesday’s semi-final in Ivory Coast.
Nigeria, the three-time champions, take on South Africa, eager to win their second title, while hosts Ivory Coast aim to beat undefeated DR Congo to secure a chance to win the title on home soil.
The Ivory Coast team, also known as the Elephants, has experienced a rollercoaster ride in the tournament. Despite reaching the group stage, they have shown incredible consistency in the knockout matches, with last-minute goals against Senegal and Mali.
Interim coach Emerse Fae acknowledges the team’s fortunes but emphasizes potential contributions from the reserves.
Ivory Coast face DR Congo, a team that advanced to the quarter-finals after drawing the first four games and boasting a dead-ball performance with three set goals in the knock-out stage.
Despite these challenges, DR Congo are still unbeaten, and coach Sebastien Desabre believes they are gaining momentum.
In the other semi-final, Nigeria face South Africa in a repeat of the 2000 Cup of Nations semi-final. Nigeria, playing in a record 15th Afcon semi-final, have impressed in defence, winning their last four matches without conceding a goal.
Coach Jose Peseiro emphasizes the formation of the defense and praises the attacking ability of players like Ademola Lookman and Moses Simon.
South Africa, led by coach Hugo Broos, have defied expectations, reaching the semi-finals for the first time in 24 years. Broos relies on the core of Mamelodi Sundowns players for their experience and teamwork. Despite keeping four clean sheets in a row, Broos admits to concerns about fatigue, stressing the “heavy legs” witnessed in their last match against Cape Verde.