It is a feisty confrontation of Eagles as Nigeria and Tunisia file out at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo today for the third place match of the 32nd Africa Cup of Nations finals.
Otherwise called the ‘losers’ final’, the third place match traditionally awards bronze medals to the winning team. Both Nigeria and Tunisia must recover adequately and pick up morale after losing in the semi finals on Sunday: Nigeria falling to a superb Riyad Mahrez free-kick at the death against Algeria and Tunisia crashing out courtesy of an own goal by Dyran Bronn against Senegal.
The Confederation of African Football has appointed renown Egyptian referee Gehad Grisha to take charge of proceedings. Grisha was in charge of two matches of the Super Eagles during the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign: the 2-1 defeat of Zambia in Ndola in October 2016 and the 4-0 defeat of Cameroon in Uyo in September 2017.
Nigeria, in her 18th appearance at the Cup of Nations, has made the semi finals for the 15th time – a remarkable record of almost always getting to the business end of the championship. The country has failed to reach the semi finals only thrice before: 1963 (debut, in Ghana), 1982 (Libya), 2008 (Ghana).
Of the 15 times Nigeria has made the semi finals, the Eagles have gone ahead to win the title three times, picked up the silver medals four times and won bronze medals seven times.
Nigeria has also never lost a third place match at the Africa Cup of Nations, winning in Ethiopia in 1976 (against Guinea), Ghana in 1978 (against Tunisia), Senegal in 1992 (against Cameroon), Mali in 2002 (against Mali), Tunisia in 2004 (against Mali), Egypt in 2006 (against Senegal) and Angola in 2010 (against Algeria).
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