It was very clear from the time the semifinals were concluded that the AFCON CUP itself would be going to West Africa. As the remaining games were Ghana vs Burkina Faso and Nigeria vs Mali, for many people or soccer fans Burkina Faso was the surprise package of this magnificent tournament.
Regarding the final itself there was nothing but passion, suspense, action, determination just to name a few. The Super Eagles (Nigeria) soared and the Stallions (Burkina Faso) did not gallop as well as the Stallions normally do. Although their star player Jonathan Pitroipa was reinstated after being red carded very controversially. The stadium was filled with soccer fans to the brim, the vuvuzela’s were as loud as they could ever be, it’s actually very funny how some South African fans were supporting Nigeria with a justification that the CUP will stay in Hillbrow. They got their wish when goal scorer (Mba) of Nigeria fought through the Burkina Faso defenders to score the only goal of the final. The Super Eagles tried again and again to seal the win with another goal but it was just not happening perhaps because Victor Moses was not on point or because the Tournament’s Top goal scorer known as Emmanuel Emenike did not play for Nigeria on the final game.
Be that as it may Nigeria took the CUP after a drought of thirteen years also making their coach Stephen Keshi the second Nigerian in history to win the tournament as a coach and then as a player which is truly remarkable. The sad part is that there are talks that the coach and the N.F.F (Nigerian Football Federation are not seeing eye to eye at the moment regarding certain talks that he is leaving the mighty Super Eagles for another position elsewhere which could be quite detrimental for Nigeria as we approach the 2014 World Cup Tournament to be help in Brazil as well as the Confederations Cup).
The closing ceremony was a huge success, the weather was perfect as well as the condition of field itself. Thus resulting in a good Final which was enjoyable to all, apparently leaving the stadium was quite hectic because of the traffic and the excitement. The Final wrapped up a very successful tournament as a whole although there concerns throughout the AFCON regarding the status of the Mbombela stadium and the standard of the refereeing. South Africa hosted the AFCON tournament at short notice but the nation was very successful at it. This Final has set the standards for the future upcoming AFCONS. We look forward to those with great anticipation.
By : Khanyisa Bubu