Nigeria’s Sunday Mba scored the only goal of the game against Burkina Faso on Sunday in Johannesburg to lift the 29th Orange Africa Cup of Nations to put a rare smile in the face of over 160 million Nigerians frustrated by state corruption and Boko Haram’s deadly attacks on Christian civilians and security forces.
Joy, emotions and excitement erupted in Kano, Onitsha, Lagos, Niger Delta and many other parts of the oil-rich nation as the Super Eagles took home the continent’s soccer supreme gold medal after 19 years of disappointment and fiasco.
Stephen Keshi became only the second man on the continent to lift the prestigious title both as a player in 1994 and as a coach in 2013.
The Stallions’ hard-working striker Jonathan Pitroipa, who had his suspension lifted by CAF ahead of the Sunday game, was rewarded with the Best Player of the tournament award. Four-goal scorers Nigeria’s Emmanuel Emenike and Ghanaian Wakaso Mubarak jointly won the tournament’s top scorer award.
Another war-hit country, Mali, took home the bronze medal after beating the Black Stars of Ghana 3-1 on Saturday.
Samassa, Seydou Keita and Diarra scored for Mali, while Juventus-based K Asamoah scored the Black Stars’ consolation goal.
Mali led 1-0 at half-time. Apathy gripped the Malian and Ghanaian media after the semi-finals, as journalists from both losing semi-finalist countries left South Africa, and did not attend the game.
*Photo courtesy of Fifa.com/Getty Images