Nigeria has never lost a third place match at the Africa Cup of Nations, and that is one record Tunisia will be looking to bring to an end.
The Super Eagles and their Carthage counterpart lock horns at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo on Wednesday for the bronze medal.
Nigeria, in her 18th AFCON appearance, 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 Super 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 won all third place matches played 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).
The silver medals have come from Cote d’Ivoire 1984 (after losing final to Cameroon); Morocco 1988 (after losing final to Cameroon); Algeria 1990 (after losing final to Algeria) and; Ghana/Nigeria 2000 (after losing final to Cameroon).
Triumphs have come from Nigeria 1980 (after beating Algeria in final in Lagos); Tunisia 1994 (after beating Zambia in final in Tunis) and; South Africa 2013 (after beating Burkina Faso in Johannesburg).
According to the NFF, the only previous time both Eagles have clashed in the third place match of the Africa Cup of Nations was in 1978, but the encounter in Accra did not end as the Tunisians abandoned the match following Segun Odegbami’s equalizer late in the first half.
CAF duly awarded the match to Nigeria 2-0 and the Green Eagles received the bronze medals.
In other confrontations at the Africa Cup of Nations, Nigeria lashed Tunisia 4-2 in a group phase match at the 2000 finals that, while Tunisia, also on home ground, edged Nigeria on penalties after their semi final clash in Rades in 2004 was stalemated at 1-1 after regulation and extra time.
Perhaps the most memorable clash between the two at the AFCON remains their quarter final battle in 2006, also in Egypt. Cup holders Tunisia shot into a comfortable lead during the penalty shoot-out following another 1-1 stalemate after regulation and extra time at the El Masry Stadium in Port Said. But Nigeria rallied through saves by goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama and the Eagles eliminated the defending champions.
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