Nigeria were winners of the continental championships in 1980 on home soil, 1994 in Tunisia, and 2013 in South Africa
Nigeria are not the best team to win the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations tournament if the prediction of a supercomputer’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) is anything to go by, Soccernet.ng reports.
The Super Eagles are one of 24 national teams gearing up for the AFCON showdown in Ivory Coast, with the three-time AFCON winners among the favourites to soar to a fourth continental crown.
However, according to the data-driven insights from Opta’s AI, as featured in a collaboration with BBC Sport, Nigeria are only the sixth most likely nation to win the tournament, which is set to kick off this weekend.
As per the report, defending champions Senegal are the frontrunners for the title. The prediction model assigns the Teranga Lions a 12.8% probability of clinching the coveted trophy, surpassing all other contenders.
Senegal won their first-ever AFCON title in Cameroon in 2022, beating Egypt on penalties in the final.
With a 12.1 % rating, Cote d’Ivoire, hosts of the 2023 edition, are tipped as the second favourites behind Senegal to rule Africa for the third time.
Morocco (11.1%), Algeria (9.7%), and Egypt (8.5%) all have a better chance of winning the AFCON than Nigeria (8.1%).
Nigeria, however, fared considerably better than Cameroon, Tunisia, South Africa, Ghana, and Zambia, who are all former winners of the championships.
Opta’s predictions hinge on a meticulous analysis, incorporating betting market odds and their proprietary team rankings. The model also considers the potential draw and the challenges each nation faces on their path to the final.
Despite injuries to key players like Victor Boniface and Wilfred Ndidi, Nigeria’s chances will be boosted by the presence of Africa Player of the Year, Victor Osimhen.
Osimhen scored ten goals – five more than his closest challengers – during the qualification campaign to seal his status as the man to watch at the AFCON.
Nigeria’s first match at the AFCON is against Equatorial Guinea on Sunday, January 14.