Nigeria wins the Orange Africa Cup of Nations 2013

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The Super Eagles of Nigeria have been crowned as the champions of Africa in front of a capacity crowd at the National Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa. Nigeria beat Burkina Faso 1-0 in the finals of the Orange Africa Cup of Nations held in South Africa.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria have been crowned as the champions of Africa in front of a capacity crowd at the National Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa. Nigeria beat Burkina Faso 1-0 in the finals of the Orange Africa Cup of Nations held in South Africa.

For 19 years, the Nigerians have been in the periphery of history in the African continent. Their last taste of continental glory was back in 1994 – ironically captained by the man who was the architect of their 2013 triumph, Stephen Keshi. If he was hailed as a legend in 1994, Keshi’s name will now be tattooed in the hearts of many in the streets of Abuja, Lagos and Calabar.

 

Sunday Mba was the goal scorer. He produced an act of individual brilliance five minutes before the interval to score the only goal of the match. From an awkward rebound, Mba controlled the ball, beat the opponents and unleashed the shot that sent the National Stadium in a frenzy. Mba has been one of Stephen Keshi’s trusted soldiers - the player who has blossomed under the ‘Boss’ and found their space in the absence of some of the most famous faces in the Super Eagles camp.

 

Burkina Faso on the other hand left the finals with their heads held high up. They reach the finals beyond the expectations of many. They have built their reputation for being less flashy but efficient - a group of players with impressive work ethic. During their final match, it took them 16 minute to settle in and have their first attempt at goal.

 

The rest of the first half was characterised by both teams trying to catch each other on counter-attack with the long ball. Occasionally, Nigeria’s Eric Ambrose showed vision in the midfield, but he often found four Burkinabe bodies behind the ball whenever he got into the Stallion’s ‘red’ area. Nigeria went to the break leading 1-0.

 

In the second half, Burkina Faso came with renewed vigour. While they had been cautious in the first half, they started to throw bodies forward in the second half in search of an equaliser.

 

Despite the loss, we give credit to Burkina Faso for labouring hard for the entire 90 minutes. Throughout this tournament, they have shown a fighting spirit only equalled by a few teams during the event.

 

This edition of the Africa Cup of Nations will be remembered for many things: It was a tournament that had authored stories of hope, inspiration. It was an occasion where some of the continental powerhouses shrug off the cobwebs of inconsistency and reclaimed dignity. It was a Nigerian come-back story as much as it was a Burkina Faso magnificent journey – two stories that will make for happy reading in years to come.

 

In the third place play-off, Mali secured bronze after beating Ghana 3-1 on Saturday at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth. Mahamadou Samassa, Seydou Keita and substitute Sigamary Diarra scored for the Malians whilst Kwadwo Asamoah grabbed a consolation for Ghana.

 

(Additional information from cafonline)

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