Around one month old soccer extravaganza in South Africa finally ended on Sunday when Nigeria defeated first timer Burkina Faso by 1-0 in a tight final at Soccer City in front of a crowd of 87000 energetic fans cheering all the time. This is one of the biggest wins considering their position at the start of the event, coz no one had taken them seriously to bring the trophy back home, even not in their country there were not many believers of their win. Last time, Nigeria did it was in 1994 when Stephen Keshi, who is the coach of current team, leaded the winning squad; perhaps he is the only black African coach to win the biggest prize money over last twenty years. Moreover, he also became the only one to win the title two times both as player and as a coach. For Burkina Faso, it was their first time when they have even crossed the group stage and this would have been a great victory for them if they could overcome Nigerians. Sunday Mba scored the only goal of the game in 40th minute just before the half time and there was no one tumbling their lead until the end.
Nigerians were in control of the game right from the beginning, though their only one goal lead hints that the match was a close one. Burkina Faso’s only chance to equalize came in the 74th minute when Wilfried Sanou’s low scoring shot was brilliantly saved by the goalie else there were not too many moments for proud for west Africans. Burkina Faso coach Paul Putsaid said over their defeat, “Football is football. You have to be great when you win and humble when you lose. Congratulations to Nigeria. We showed Nigeria a bit too much respect in the first half – in the second half we tried to do everything possible. But you have to be big when you lose and small when you win. Possibly, we were a little tired after two matches that went to extra-time, but I’m not going to look for excuses. The whole of Burkina Faso can be proud of their players.”
Jubilant Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi also told the reporters post winning, “Winning this is mainly for my nation – when I came on board a year and a half ago my dream was to make all Nigerians happy, and to construct a great Nigerian team, We are not there yet, it’s still in process. You don’t want to know what was going through my head! To represent Africa in Brazil at the Confed Cup is an honour for Nigeria.”