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Nigeria vs Ghana: Who has a better AFCON 2023 team?

Nigeria, Ghana
© Ace Football

The Super Eagles could face their arch-rivals in the knockout stage of the tournament. 

The football rivalry between Nigeria and Ghana stands as one of the most intense and historic contests in African football. These West African nations share not only geographical proximity but also a rich history of competitive clashes that have captivated football enthusiasts for decades.

This rivalry has been prominently featured in continental competitions, particularly the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), where Nigeria and Ghana consistently find themselves pitted against each other in high-stakes “Jollof derby” encounters.

As the AFCON 2023 unfolds, all eyes will be on a possible clash between the two African giants. Let’s compare Nigeria and Ghana’s strengths in different areas of the pitch. 

Nigeria vs Ghana: Comparison


Both sides have struggled with goalkeeping consistency in recent years. But it seems that Ghana can edge out their opponents in this position. 

The Black Stars’ No.1 keeper is Richard Ofori, who has made a total of 28 appearances for the national team. The Orlando Pirates star has shown excellent form in recent months, securing his place as Ghana’s first-choice goalkeeper. Lawrence Ati-Zigi is expected to stay as Ofori’s backup during the AFCON.

For Nigeria, the goalkeeping dilemma is much more complicated. Despite Jose Peseiro’s backing of Francis Uzoho, the Omonia Nikosia goalkeeper is far from being a reliable presence between Nigeria’s posts. Stanley Nwabili and Olorunleke Ojo are the other goalkeepers at Nigeria’s disposal, but their lack of international experience makes them somewhat risky choices for the tournament.


Ghana are expected to play with a four-man backline during the tournament, with a possible lineup including Denis Odoi, Mohammed Salisu, Alexander Djiku, and Gideon Mensah.

Nigeria also have a similar defensive setup as part of their 4-3-3 system under Peseiro. A host of different players have been used in the Super Eagles’ backline in recent months. However, a lineup of Calvin Bassey, William Troost-Ekong, Zaidu Sanusi, and Bright Osayi-Samuel is the most probable starting setup for Nigeria in AFCON.

Nigeria have a slight advantage in this department, with the duo of Bassey and Troost-Ekong providing the Super Eagles with a solid defensive backbone.


The absence of Thomas Partey is a huge blow to Ghana’s hopes of claiming the AFCON trophy, significantly weakening their midfield line. The Black Stars are expected to employ the duo of Iddrisu Baba and Daniel Amartey at the heart of the midfield, with Mohammed Kudus and Joseph Paintsil playing on the wings. 

Nigeria, on the other hand, will most likely continue to use a three-man midfield line during the tournament. Raphael Onyedika is expected to start alongside Joe Aribo and Alex Iwobi.

Ghana’s midfield line offers more defensive stability, while Nigeria seem to be focused on transitional play and feeding their star-studded attacking setup. In terms of personnel, it seems that the Black Stars have a slight edge over their arch-rivals as both Amartey and Baba are spending excellent seasons. 


We named Kudus and Paintsil among Ghana’s midfielders. But in reality, both wingers will be fully involved in the Black Stars’ attacking efforts, with Kudus occasionally taking up a No.10 role. Andre Ayew is expected to play behind Inaki Williams, who will be Ghana’s target striker for AFCON 2023.

Nigeria arguably have the best attacking line in the entire tournament. Even the untimely injury of Victor Boniface won’t have a significant impact on the Super Eagles’ solid attacking setup. Victor Osimhen will continue his No.9 role, with Ademola Lookman and Samuel Chukwueze completing Nigeria’s devastating forward line.

Nigeria will look to capitalize on their superior firepower if they meet Ghana in AFCON’s knockout stage.