BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
When the Super Eagles overcame South Africa on Wednesday, the team maintained a tradition of getting to the semi finals in virtually all appearances in the premier continental football fiesta.
Sunday’s match against either Cote d’Ivoire or Algeria will be their 15th semifinal match in 18 attempts at winning the tournament. Only thrice in 1963, 1982 and 2008 had the Nigerian team failed to get to the stage.
At the semifinals, Nigeria had failed seven times in 14 previous matches. But of the remaining six teams as at Wednesday nights, only Nigeria’s Super Eagles and Cote d’Ivoire have multiple titles. Nigeria have three wins and gunning for the fourth Africa Cup of Nations’ victory. Cote won twice.
Senegal, though rated first by FIFA among African team, have never won the Africa Cup of Nations’ title. Their best outing had been the semifinal elimination of Nigeria in 2002 and eventually losing to Cameroon in the final.
Tunisia which have a quarter final game with Madagascar this Thursday have won the title only once on home soil in 2004. Madagascar are the reveling debutants so far. It will be determined Thursday night how far the fairy tale will last.
Cote d’Ivoire and Algeria have each won the title only once. Algeria did it once on home soil in 1990, beating Nigeria 1-0 in the final while Cote d’Ivoire depended on lottery of penalty kicks to win in 1992 and 2017 – both encounters being against Ghana’s Black Stars.