Members of the Super Eagles Squad that were left out of the 2013 African Cup of Nations might be biting their fingers as the young Nigerian Squad cruised beat the very-physical Burkina Faso team to win the Nations Cup.
The game ended 1-0 in favour of the Super Eagles who had earlier mauled Mali 4-1 in the semi-finals before edging off Burkina Faso to claim the title. Sunday Mba’s first half goal helped to seal the victory to claim the nation’s third continental crown.
Efe Ambrose and Ideye Brown had opportunities to demonstrate their aerial prowess early on, but despite the bumbling and fumbling of Daouda Diakite in the Burkinabe goal, neither could capitalise. As the first half unfurled, the Stallions struggled to impose themselves; in frustration, perhaps more than hope, Aristide Bance – one of the semi-final heroes – twice shot from distance, but both of his efforts were wayward – the first hurtling over the bar, the second dribbling wide.
With the game threatening to become congested in the midfield, and Burkina still struggling to settle, Nigeria struck first. Moses forged some space for himself, and after demonstrating admirable determination and work rate, indirectly provided an opportunity for Sunday Mba – the slayer of Cote d’Ivoire – to fire the Eagles ahead.
Burkina Faso, on the other hand, failed to truly grow into the contest and find their rhythm. While few would have begrudged them a place in the final, after their heroic performances previously, perhaps the occasion was too big as the side appeared to lack self-belief, and rarely convinced.
This marks a remarkable moment for Stephen Keshi, coach of the team who was also part of the squad that helped Nigeria win the title in 1994. Nigeria claim their third Cup of Nations with the 2013 edition, as a continent recognises their revival, and a nation rejoices.