Former African champions Nigeria were held 1-1 by Burkina Faso yesterday in Nelspruit, South Africa, in the first game of Group C played for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
It is not over until over! That is the valuable lesson to be learnt by the Super Eagles who lost concentration in the last 10 minutes of the game, and in the process gave away a silly goal in stoppage time – a goal that will haunt them for the rest of the competition if the situation gets complicated in this group.
Emmanuel Emenike scored for Nigeria in the 23rd minute, a goal that motivated them to put more pressure on their West African counterparts. But they made mistakes after mistakes, missing clear-cut chances that would have helped them win the game, perhaps with a big margin.
And in the end they paid a heavy price for those mistakes, as the Stallions of Burkina Faso woke up in in their slumber, and started to push forward. Finally they were rewarded when Alain Traore equalised in the last minute of added time, 17 minutes after a Nigeria player, Ambrose, was yellow-carded for the second time, and given his marching orders for a ‘slight’ foul on Pitroipa.
The group now looks tricky, with all teams bagging one point and one goal after Zambia and Ethiopia also played to a 1-1 draw earlier on. It was a disappointing game for holders Zambia, a team that does not look sharp enough to defend their crown.
Today, the city of Rustenburg in North West Province will erupt when Didier Drogba and his teammates of Ivory Coast descend there to play Togo, and Tunisia battle it out with Algeria in a North Africa derby.
*Photo by Daily Independent. Nigeria goalscorer Emmanuel Emenike.