With untold eagerness, I waited for the evening of Wednesday, 9th of February 2013. I wasn’t waiting for an Arsenal encounter at the emirates nor the glamour and return of the UEFA champions League, I had the Super Eagles of Nigeria in mind. The African Cup of Nations had entered the semi-final stage.
With no Arsenal mid-week game and so many international games on board, I was happily left with the battle of eagles in Durban, South Africa. The Eagles of Mali had defeated the Bafana Bafana of South Africa while the Super Eagles of Nigeria flew over Didier Drogba led Elephants of Cote d’ivoire. The AFCON 2013 had left many gaping in awe as some teams have surprised many bookmakers.
Three goals in the first half put the game beyond the Malians. Seydou Keita hoofed and puffed but could draw no Nigerian blood. Chelsea’s Victor Moses did a good work on the flanks before laying a cross for Echiejile to open the flood gates. Emenike’s cross was sandwiched in by Brown Ideye for his first goal of the tournament before the Russian based Emenike’s free kick was deflected in to make it 3 at the break.
Pacey winger, Ahmed Musa read Mikel’s through pass to put the ball through the legs of the Malian goalie to make it 4. Musa put the ball in the net again but was misadjoined as being offside. Mali pulled one back to make the scoreline respectable.
Prior to the tournament, Cote d’ivoire, Zambia, Algeria, and host South Africa were tipped for the trophy. Unfortunately, none of them could make the finals with Zambia and Algeria not evening qualifying from their respective groups. Nigeria has defied all odds and criticism from pundits and fans to progress to their 7th AFCON Final.
Emmanuel Emenike is the toast of the Super Eagles. He has scored 4 goals and assisted other goals. I hope he wins the golden boots and maybe the golden ball. Vincent Enyeama has also saved the Nigerians in many occasions and should take the golden gloves home. Victor Moses has been dangerous all through with his Chelsea teammate making a good claim at the middle of the pack.
The home-based and relatively unknown players have held their nerves and produced superlative performances. Godfrey Obaobuna, Sunday Mba and Fegor Ogunde ply their trade in the Nigerian Premeir League. Onazi, Kenneth Omeruo, Ahmed Musa play for relatively unknown team in Europe and should move on to better clubs thanks to their performances in South Africa.
So Nigeria will play the Final match of the AFCON 2013 against Burkina Faso. Burkina Faso defeated Ghana 3-2 on penalties after the game ended 1-1 in regulation time. The last west African country to win the AFCON is Nigeria in 1994. Who would wear the crown? The Super Eagles or the Stallion? Would Stephen Keshi be the first Nigerian to lift the trophy as a player and a coach? He isn’t a carpenter.
Back to Arsenal, I hear that Rambo came back from the welsh camp with an injury! Not a good news. Hope others come back whole. We face Sunderland at the weekend. how did Walcott’s top 9 experiment in the 3 lions shirt fare?