Nigeria’s Super Eagles last night floated like butterflies and stung like bees to clinch their third Africa Cup of Nations following a deserved 1-0 victory over Burkina Faso’s Stallions at Soccer City in Johannesburg before a sold out 77 600 crowd.
The Super Eagles last won the cup in 1994.
Prior to the finale, the Eagles coach Stephen Keshi declared that his side would not let their dream come to a halt and they did it in spectacular fashion on a night of extraordinary drama.
The final game of the three-week tournament was graced by President Jacob Zuma and Fifa and CAF presidents Sepp Blatter and Issa Hayatou, respectively. It was curtain-raised by a fight against malaria performance by Yvonne Chakachaka, who was in the company of Bafana Bafana legend Mark Fish.
Chakachaka’s performance was followed by an African cultural show with the map of the continent being displayed and the fans roared in appreciation.
The Burkinabes, who were making their maiden final Nations Cup appearance, were relentlessly torn apart by the Super Eagles, especially in the first-half.
Nigeria’s English Premiership duo of John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses, Emmanuel Emenike and Sunday Mba epitomised this final encounter and in the end, they stood up to be counted.
There was an unremitting drama on a night of blood, sweat and tears–tears of joy for the Eagles and tears of despair for the Burkinabes.
Just like they did against Ivory Coast in the quarter-final and Mali in the semis, Nigeria were simply in an imperious form. They demolished the Stallions with a performance of hunger, conviction and sheer class.
It was a night Burkina Faso’s luck finally ran out, a night when their otherwise impressive adventure came to a heart-breaking end. Their sheer bravery was simply not enough against an inspired opponent.
Mba scored the winner for Nigeria in the 40th minute following a defensive lapse. The goal came a few minutes after the fans turned on the Mexican wave, asking for a little bit more of attacks from both sides.
The first-half generally ebbed and flowed with Nigeria dominating possession 54-46.
The second-half proved more lively with Burkina Faso’s Jonathan Pitroipa turning on the heat on Nigeria.
It was the most thrilling end to a final epic, it was the stuff of footballing fantasy—no fuss, no panic, job done!
Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi was over the moon as he realised his dream to become only the second person to win the tournament both as player  and coach.
He hailed the fighting spirit of his Eagles after the final whistle.
”I am the happiest man tonight and I dedicate the triumph to all Nigerians and I thank God for making it happen for us,” said Keshi. —Story Powered by Standard Bank and OG Plasic Industries