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FLASHBACK: WHEN NIGERIA SUSTAINED AN 8-MATCH UNBEATEN RUN SPANNING 18 YEARS AGAINST COTE D’IVOIRE

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BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

Cote d’Ivoire, although underachievers in the continent’s premier football competition, the Africa Cup of Nations, are one of the football powerhouses in Africa.

A fixture with the Elephants cannot be seen as a stroll in the park. Yet Nigeria managed a good football record against the fellow West Africans. 

On this date, 23 June 1985 Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire at the Stade Félix Houphouët Boigny, Abidjan played a 1-1 draw in the third of a programmed four-match series. Rashidi Yekini scored Nigeria’s goal. 

With the scoreline, Nigeria completed a eight-match series with Cote d’Ivoire without losing. By then, the last time Cote d’Ivoire had beaten Nigeria was a 31 May 1967 friendly match encounter in Abidjan. The hosts won 3-2. 

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Before the 1-1 draw of 1985, both teams played a goalless draw in Benin on 16 June 1985 and Nigeria won the second match 2-0 in Kano. 

Both countries were to host two matches each. In the last leg of the Cote d’Ivoire’s two home matches played in Bouake on 26 June 1985, Rashidi Yekini scored again in the duel that ended 1-1. 

The series was part of Nigeria’s build up for a scheduled World Cup qualifying duel against Tunisia later in July. 

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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