Ivory Coast have had a rollercoaster of an AFCON having sacked their manager during the group stages and have managed to somehow, against all odds, reach the final.
It's certainly a blessing for Ivory Coast because an early exit from the group stages would have sent anger throughout the host nation. Instead, though they will be roared on by thousands of fans who will make it as uncomfortable as possible for Nigeria.
The host nation will be keen to lift their first AFCON since 2015 and we're going to dive into which 11 players could be trusted to do so from the beginning tomorrow.
Ivory Coast AFCON final predicted starting XI
Goalkeeper and defenders
Yahia Fofana – Back-to-back clean sheets on the cards
Yahia Fofana has been the undisputed number one this AFCON and has done very little wrong. Two clean sheets to his name including one in the semi-final against the DR Congo will have Fofana brimming with confidence.
Fofana has proven himself to be a safe repair of hands this tournament conceding seven goals, although four of them did come in a single match, so the Ivory Coast will be confident of who their number one is.
Wilfried Singo – A final chance to impress
It's been an indifferent tournament for the AS Monaco man hooked off in the opening-day defeat to Guinea-Bissau. The right-back would have to wait until the third and unfortunate 4-0 hammering to get his next start.
Of his four starts, Ivory Coast have only won once in 90 minutes, which doesn't make for impressive reading, but his intelligence on and off the ball will be why he gets the nod.
Willy Boly – Experienced defender set for final berth
The 33-year-old was clearly not seen as too important at the start of AFCON, as evidenced by him not starting in any of the opening two matches. He was part of the 4-0 horror showing against Equatorial Guinea and subsequently lost his place.
However, experience and leadership have been crucial to Ivory Coast getting this far with Boly starting the last two crunch games, showing he's still very much needed for his country.
Evan Ndicka – Ivory Coast's rock at the back to shine
Evan Ndicka has not missed a single minute for Ivory Coast this tournament. He's seen the highs of a semi-final victory and a penalty shoot-out win, but also the lows of a 4-0 group stage embarrassment.
Ndicka is IvoryCoast's leader at the back and his form will be crucial to keep out threats such as Victor Osimhen and Ademola Lookman. With that much pace to defend against, betting on him to be booked (at 4/1) would be a sensible decision.
Ghislain Konan – Defensive solidity will be crucial
Ghislain Konan has been less than marvellous going forward, but his performances in his own defensive third have been very noteworthy.
The full-back is not known for his goal involvements – he has just three assists for his club this term – but he provides a reliable player in a back four that's not always looked the most resolute.
Much like with Ndicka, dealing with players such as Lookman and Alex Iwobi he may be forced to commit fouls to stop attacks, so 7/2 odds are very attractive.
Jean Michael Seri – Defensive duties will be critical
Despite having not started any of the group stage matches, Jean Michael Seri now appears undroppable. He's marshalling and protecting the back four extremely well.
The combative midfielder has started all three of the knockout games picking up just the sole booking and allowing the attacking players to flourish further forward.
Seko Fofana – More attacking nous required
A bright start to AFCON 2023 saw Seko Fofana score a dramatic equaliser but he's failed to find the back of the net since. He does have one assist to his name, however, so is his country's most involved attacking player this tournament.
Being the joint top scorer for Ivory Coast this tournament is nothing to shout about, but for him to go clear out in front will give you odds of 5/1 for him to score anytime.
Franck Kessie – Big-game player could soon step up
Much like Fofana, the experienced midfielder had high expectations for himself as well as from supporters hearing into AFCON 2023. The dominant star is able to operate as a box-to-box machine, but during his career, he's been more potent further up the pitch.
However, given the attacking players in front of him, he's often had to play deeper. So, Ivory Coast may have to unleash one of their more talented players to punish and pin back Nigeria.
Simon Adingra – Young star could steal the show
Simon Adingra came into AFCON 223 with a hamstring injury and his availability was unclear, but a testament to his hard work, the winger has featured in the last four matches.
Adingra's only goal of the competition came in a 2-1 win against Mali in which he scored the first goal for Ivory Coast. He's clearly a capable finisher and with nobody taking goalscoring by the scruff of its neck, and 11/1 odds for him to score first could be teasing.
Sebastien Haller – Main man to steal the headlines
Having missed the group stages, Haller's return has certainly helped turn his country's fortunes around. The tall striker is as good in the air as he is with the ball at his feet in and around the penalty box.
Despite just one goal to his name, he's the most lethal in this Ivory Coast squad, so backing him to make some history and score a final hat-trick can be found at an eye-watering 250/1.
Max Gradel – Ivory Coast's captain leading the charge
Max Gradel was handed the honour of captaining his country in the semi-final and that looks set to continue. 36 years old and still firing on all cylinders is very impressive.
The winger set up Haller's winner against DR Congo to emphasise his importance to the team. Despite playing so many games in his tight years, expect him to be the most fired up on Sunday.
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