Skip to main content

Third African soccer title for Nigeria

updated 5:20 PM EST, Sun February 10, 2013
Nigeria's captain Joseph Yobo holds the Africa Cup of Nations trophy, which had been handed to him by South African President Jacob Zuma (L) at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg. Nigeria's captain Joseph Yobo holds the Africa Cup of Nations trophy, which had been handed to him by South African President Jacob Zuma (L) at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg.
HIDE CAPTION
'Super Eagles' end long wait for title
'Super Eagles' end long wait for title
'Super Eagles' end long wait for title
'Super Eagles' end long wait for title
'Super Eagles' end long wait for title
'Super Eagles' end long wait for title
'Super Eagles' end long wait for title
'Super Eagles' end long wait for title
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Sunday Mba scores the only goal of the Africa Cup of Nations final in South Africa
  • He gives Nigeria victory over first-time finalists Burkina Faso in Soweto
  • "Super Eagles" become fourth team to win the title on three or more occasions
  • Coach Stephen Keshi was also involved as a player in the team's last win in 1994

(CNN) -- Nigeria's long wait for a major soccer title ended on Sunday as the "Super Eagles" beat Burkina Faso 1-0 in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations.

Sunday Mba scored his second goal of the two-week tournament -- both coincidentally coming on the day that bears his name -- as Nigeria became just the fourth team to win the continental crown three times or more.

"I'm so happy it is a dream come true. I don't know what to say," Mba said after the final whistle.

"We really worked hard and we were looking forward to this day and I'm so happy for this."

Stephen Keshi became only the second man to win the title as both coach and player, having been captain at the 1994 tournament when Nigeria won for the second time -- though he did not play in that final.

African Cup of Nations final preview
CNN exclusive: Africa's football chief
South Africa's World Cup legacy

Burkina Faso, playing in the final for the first time, missed out on the $1.5 million first prize and the chance to represent Africa at this year's Confederations Cup in Brazil.

Mba also scored in the quarterfinal win over tournament favorites Ivory Coast, being one of five home-based players brought into the squad by Keshi.

Keshi made big changes after Nigeria failed to qualify for last year's event in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon -- a turbulent period for the national team, which was suspended from international football by President Goodluck Jonathan before world ruling body FIFA threatened to intervene.

However, the president was delighted with Sunday's result.

"President Jonathan thanks coach Stephen Keshi and all members of the team who have worked very hard to make Nigeria the proud champions of Africa once again after 19 years of setbacks in the competition," his office said in a statement.

"The President also believes that having conquered Africa, the new Super Eagles can go on to achieve even greater glory at the World Cup in Brazil next year."

Back in 1994, Nigeria was ranked fifth in the world -- the highest by any African nation.

The Super Eagles won gold at the 1996 Olympics, but have since slipped to 52nd in the rankings.

Mba's 40th-minute strike came after a moment of opportunistic skill as the 24-year-old flicked a loose ball into the penalty area and then poked a volley past the Stallions' goalkeeper Daouda Diakite.

"It will go a long way towards my career," said Mba, who made his first appearance at the tournament after winning a late call-up from Keshi.

"This is my first time and I'm very happy. We gave all that we had."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 7:45 AM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
Cultural y Deportivo Leonesa line up in their tuxedo kit.
When celebrating an important anniversary, it's always good to look your best. At least that's theory for a Spanish football team's preseason tuxedo kit.
updated 7:03 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
While many top European clubs are targeting the U.S. market, French football is setting its sights on expanding into Asia -- with China playing a key role.
updated 8:29 AM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
Major League Soccer has snared another big name from England with former Chelsea star Frank Lampard committing his future to New York City FC.
updated 12:56 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Europe's top clubs have booked a summer holiday to the U.S. -- but this is business not pleasure as they look to cash in on the World Cup afterglow.
updated 2:28 PM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Brazil's new coach Dunga won the World Cup as a player in 1994.
Former World Cup-winning captain Dunga is appointed coach of Brazil's national team for the second time, charged with restoring national pride.
updated 10:20 AM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Colombia's World Cup star James Rodriguez continues Real Madrid's long tradition of signing "Galacticos."
updated 6:07 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Germany's World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm has decided to go out at the top by announcing his retirement from international football.
The U.S. government recognizes Kosovo, as do most European states, but getting football's ruling bodies to play ball has proved harder.
updated 11:04 AM EDT, Wed June 4, 2014
National heroes don't always belong to one country. Ask France's World Cup hero Patrick Vieira, who is rediscovering his roots.
CNN's John Sinnott on the quiet Cambridge graduate behind Liverpool's resurgent campaign.
updated 11:19 AM EDT, Fri May 30, 2014
They are the dispossessed -- stateless, and unrecognized by football's ruling body. But these teams will still play at their own World Cup.
Louis van Gaal will be a perfect fit for Manchester United the club, business and brand, says CNN's Patrick Snell.
ADVERTISEMENT