Sunday, February 10, 2013

Nigeria Crowned Champions at AFCON 2013

The Nigeria team celebrate their first
AFCON win for nineteen years.

Nigeria secured their third African Cup of Nations title as midfielder Sunday Mba scored a fine winner against a battling Burkina Faso side in Johannesburg.

Mba volleyed home the only goal of the game in the 40th minute to give the Super Eagles their first AFCON trophy for 19 years. 

Nigeria head-coach Stephen Keshi becomes only the second individual ever to have won the competition as a player and as a manager after he skippered the country to victory in 1994.

Burkina Faso struggled to form any real chances throughout the match, but brilliantly surpassed any pre-tournament expectations by reaching the final, especially as the country had never previously won a game at the competition.

They also boasted player of the tournament Jonathan Pitroipa as the Stade Rennais winger made several headlines during his time in South Africa. He was a doubt to even play against Nigeria after picking up a red card for diving during the semi final versus Ghana, but officials rescinded the booking after Tunisian referee Slim Jdidi was adjudged to have got the decision completely wrong.

The limelight though belonged to Nigeria as they celebrated with the trophy at the FNB Stadium earlier this evening. After eliminating favourites the Ivory Coast, few would argue that they were deserved eventual winners. Chelsea duo John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses were hugely influential in their side’s run to the final and vindicated the manager’s shock decision to leave out more experienced stars such as Obafemi Martins and Peter Odemwingie.  

The final rounded off a tournament held in South Africa that unfortunately placed spotlight on a series of poor refereeing decisions and below-par playing surfaces. That didn’t however dampen the spirits of victorious coach Keshi, as he told reporters "this is mainly for my nation. When I came on board a year and a half ago, my dream was to make all Nigerians happy". 


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