AFCON 2023: Shettima, not Tinubu, to grace AFCON 2023 finals
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has directed Vice President Kashim Shettima to lead a presidential team to the finals of the 2023 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament in Côte d’Ivoire slated for Sunday.
Earlier reports had hinted that Tinubu would be in Abidjan to cheer the Super Eagles at the final.
Patrice Motsepe, the head of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), had confirmed that Tinubu will be present at the stadium on Sunday to watch the final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) between Nigeria and the host nation, Côte d’Ivoire.
Motsepe confirmed the development at a press conference held by the CAF supremo in Abidjan on Friday while responding to a question from a journalist asking when Africa can host the FIFA World Cup again.
“Nigeria must put in a bid,” Mr Motsepe said. “The Nigerian president (Bola Tinubu) is coming to watch the final on Sunday. I will have a conversation with him about it,” he added.
But Tinubu was reported to have sent his vice, Kashim Shettima, to represent him in the game against South Africa, having just been back a few days earlier from a trip to France but will be present at the stadium on Sunday for the final.
The game is Nigeria’s presence in the final of the AFCON since the Super Eagles last reached the stage in 2013 when they beat Burkina Faso in the final to clinch their third continental title.
Shettima had represented the president at the semi-finals when the Super Eagles defeated South Africa in a pulsating encounter.
The Nigerian national team is set to face host, Côte d’Ivoire, in a thrilling rematch at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan on Sunday, February 11.
According to a statement by the spokesman of the vice president, Stanley Nkwocha, the match will rekindle the memories of Nigeria’s 1-0 victory over the host country in the group stage secured through Captain William Troost-Ekong’s penalty.
“Recognizing the unifying power of football and the immense role the Super Eagles play in fostering national pride and unity, the President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, believes that Vice President Shettima’s presence at the finals alongside the delegation is a testament to the government’s unwavering support for the team and its dedication to their success.
“The federal government calls on all Nigerians, both at home and abroad, to unite in support of the Super Eagles, and to raise their voices in encouragement, and create a wave of national pride that propels the team to glory,” he added.
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