JONATHAN SHALLARD in JOHANNESBURG —- Sunday Mba chose his very own appropriate day for the greatest moment of his football career by striking the magnificent goal which earned Nigeria a 1-0 victory over Burkina Faso in the final of the African Nations Cup in Soccer City.
The Green Eagles thus ended a 19-year wait to regain the cup and offered coach Stephen Keshi a place in history as only the second man to triumph as both player and manager. He had been Nigeria’s captain when they won the last time in 1994.
Mba, 24, who also scored the winner in the 2-1 quarter-final win over Ivory Coast, struck after 40 minutes when the ball bounced off a defender and on to his foot. Mba flippd the ball over defender Mohamed Koffi then reacted quickest to score with his other foot low into the corner of goalkeeper Daouda Diakite’s net.
Rank outsiders Burkina Faso, in the final for the first time, seemed over-awed by the occasion, which was played out in front of a near 90,000 capacity crowd, until the last 20 minutes when they threw everything forward in search of an equaliser.
Nigeria, however, with John Obi Mikel superb in midfield and Efe Ambrose, Kenneth Omeruo and Elderson Echiejile dominant at the back were always in command and secured their third title.
Mali beat Ghana 3-1 on Saturday in the third place play-off.
4 – Mubarak Wakaso (Ghana), Emmanuel Emenike (Nigeria)
3 – Alain Traore (Burkina Faso)
2 – Jonathan Pitroipa, Sunday Mba (Burkina Faso), Dieumerci Mbokani (DR Congo), Gervinho, Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast), Seydou Keita (Mali), Victor Moses (Nigeria), Siyabonga Sangweni (South Africa).
1957 – Egypt (Sudan)
1959 – Egypt (Egypt)
1962 – Ethiopia (Ethiopia)
1963 – Ghana (Ghana)
1965 – Ghana (Tunisia)
1968 – Congo-Kinshasa (Ethiopia)
1970 – Sudan (Sudan)
1972 – Congo (Cameroon)
1974 – Zaire (Egypt)
1976 – Morocco (Ethiopia)
1978 – Ghana (Ghana)
1980 – Nigeria (Nigeria)
1982 – Ghana (Libya)
1984 – Cameroon (Ivory Coast)
1986 – Egypt (Egypt)
1988 – Cameroon (Morocco)
1990 – Algeria (Algeria)
1992 – Ivory Coast (Senegal)
1994 – Nigeria (Tunisia)
1996 – South Africa (South Africa)
1998 – Egypt (Burkina Faso)
2000 – Cameroon (Ghana and Nigeria co-hosts)
2002 – Cameroon (Mali)
2004 – Tunisia (Tunisia)
2006 – Egypt (Egypt)
2008 – Egypt (Ghana)
2010 – Egypt (Angola)
2012 – Zambia (Equatorial Guinea and Gabon co-hosts)
Note: Congo-Kinshasa and Zaire now known as DR Congo
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