With almost everything set for the final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations between host country Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria, the Confederation of Africa Football CAF has vowed to address issues of possible threats and harassment from home fans towards Nigerian fans.
More than two million Nigerians live in Ivory Coast- some were born there as a result of migration that started over 200 years ago while some are simply in the country for business.
Nigeria had earlier defeated the host 1-nil, during the group stage, with that loss metted on the said to have triggered pockets of aggression from indigenous Ivorian fans towards the Nigerians.
Asked about the safety of Nigerian fans should the Super Eagles defeat their host on Sunday, CAF President Dr Patrice Motsepe during the pre-final media brief has vowed to address with the Ivorian government.
"We'll raise this issue with the government and thank you for raising that because as I've said, it is important, whether you're from Nigeria or from East Africa or North Africa, or Southern Africa, we are all Africans and those Nigerians who've been living here are part of us.
"Thank you so much we'll raise it with the government and thanks for making us aware of that because we really want everyone to be treated fairly and I can tell you the government is deeply committed. I mean President Ouattara has really done an excellent job.
“Our commitment as CAF is to work together with all our partners & to contribute to uniting all our people in Africa and worldwide; people from different racial, ethnic & religious backgrounds,” Motsepe says.
Matchday attendance at the stadium has not been the best during the competition, as tickets for the final match between Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire have also become scarce. Motsepe revealed that black-marketers hijacked the ticketing for the AFCON 2023.
Empty stadium and tickets
"When you see an empty stadium it's not good for African football. And the reason why there are empty sits is because there are people who went and bought all these tickets for disproportionate amounts and they are selling them at abnormal prices. My relatives in Nigeria are calling me every day. Even some of the relatives I forgot about telling me we want tickets.
"I don't know, where am I going to get these tickets from? We are coming. And I'll say that 2 million are already here. More than 2 million Nigerians. So this is one area where we have to and we'll improve," he explains.
"I'm so proud of Nigeria. I mean Nigeria has 230 million people and to see 230 million of our people excited. I mean I'm proud of all of us in Africa," Peseiro raves about.
Despite the announcement by Motsepe that Nigeria President, Bola Tinubu will be attending the final. Media release from the office of the president has stated the President Tinubu will not be attending instead he has deleted Vice-President Kashim Shettima to lead the Nigerian government delegation.
CAF also says over 2 Billion people across 180 countries have watched Afcon 2023.