Ekong crowned AFCON MVP, Williams beats Nwabali to Goalkeeper award


The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations ended on a colourful note, with hosts Cote d’Ivoire beating the Super Eagles of Nigeria to the trophy after winning Sunday’s final 2-1.

Franck Kessie with a near-post finish and Sebastien Haller’s flick handed the trophy to the Ivorians on Sunday night at Stade Alassane Quattara in Abidjan.

While Nigeria’s dream of lifting the trophy fell short, individual players shone brightly throughout the tournament.

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Defender William Troost-Ekong emerged as the Most Valuable Player, while South Africa’s Ronwen Williams beat Nigeria’s Stanley Nwabali to the Goalkeeper of the Tournament award.

Towering at the heart of Nigeria’s defense, Ekong was a rock throughout the tournament.

His leadership, composure, and crucial tackles were instrumental in guiding the Super Eagles to the final, and beyond that, his three-goal contribution was crucial to the Nigeria national team’s run.

South Africa may not have reached the final, but their journey was undoubtedly bolstered by Williams’ heroics in goal.

His agility, reflexes, and ability to pull off game-changing saves earned him widespread praise and ultimately, the Goalkeeper of the Tournament award.

His penalty shoot-out heroics against Cape Verde and Congo DR also stood Williams out from the others.

Equatorial Guinea striker Esue won the Highest Goal Scorer accolade.

While the Super Eagles fell short of their ultimate goal, individual accolades like Ekong’s MVP award and the team’s impressive run to the final provide a sense of accomplishment.

With the AFCON over now, the next stop for the Super Eagles is the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.

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