Nigeria captured its long-awaited third African Nations Cup title with a dominant 1-0 performance over Burkina Faso in Johannesburg.
Sunday Mba fired the Super Eagles ahead with a superb volley five minutes before the break after a period of pressure saw Burkina Faso, competing in itsr first final, succumb to Stephen Keshi's side.
Wilfried Sanou came close to equalizing for the Stallions midway through the second half but his brief flash of brilliance was extinguished by a top-drawer save by Vincent Enyeama.
It was Nigeria's first final since 2000 but it was hot favorites ahead of the match against the minnows from west Africa due to its 12-game unbeaten record.
Nigeria's win means coach Keshi becomes only the second man to win the cup as coach and player, following in the footsteps of Egyptian Mahmoud Al Gohari.
The Super Eagles set their stall out early, with wave after wave of attack which pegged Burkina Faso back into their own half for the majority of the first 45 minutes.
Efe Ambrose had the first chance of the match when he headed over the bar fromVictor Moses' free kick in the seventh minute before Burkina Faso goalkeeper Daouda Diakite almost made a disastrous mistake moments later.
Diakite came off his line to take a ball above his own defender's head, only to fluff his take, with Brown Ideye's resulting weak shot looping over the bar.
It was a huge let off for Burkina Faso in its first taste of the competition's final, after it had previously only reached the last four of the tournamnet in 1998 where it lost to eventual champions Egypt.
However, there was a glimmer of creativity from midfielder Jonathan Pitroipa, who had his red card from the last match against Ghana rescinded, when he made a good run up the right and drew in four Nigeria defenders, only for the resulting corner to be easily neutralized.
Nigeria kept up the pressure, Aristide Bance wasting a good chance when his low, drilled 25-yard free-kick flashed just wide of Enyeama's right post, before Ikechukwu Uche's turn on edge of box was miscued by the onrushing Ideye.
Burkina Faso was struggling to get out of its own half and Nigeria's dominance told five minutes before the break, when Mba volleyed past Diakite from the middle of the box.
After some good build-up play, Moses' shot was blocked and looped up to Mba, who plucked the ball from the air to fire the Super Eagles to a deserved lead.
The goal gave the match a much-needed boost, with Burkina Faso increasing its urgency and making a couple of surging runs into the Nigeria box before the half-time whistle.
Nigeria almost doubled its lead two minutes after the break when Moses played in Ideye, who was unable to get enough angle on his strike and flashed it across the face of goal.
Moses then wasted a golden chance to score on the counter-attack when he failed to pull the trigger when one-on-one with defender Madi Panandetiguiri.
The Nigeria defense was then called upon to keep out two testing corners before Super Eagles goalkeeper Enyeama denied Sanou's powerful strike with a fantastic diving save to tip it around the post.
However, Burkina Faso remained unable to find that elusive cutting edge, with substitute Moumouni Dagano firing over the bar with his stoppage time free-kick in their last meaningful attack.
Nigeria ends 19-year of Afcon drought
Nigeria's forward Sunday Mba © celebrates with teammates after scoring the opening goal against Burkina Faso during the 2013 African Cup of Nations final football match between Burkina Faso and Nigeria on February 10, 2013 at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg. AFP PHOTO
SOWETO, South Africa (AFP) - Nigeria ended a 19-year Africa Cup of Nations title drought Sunday with a 1-0 final victory over Burkina Faso at Soccer City thanks to a late first-half goal from Sunday Mba.
It was a result that took winning coach Stephen Keshi into the record books as he equalled the feat of late Egyptian Mahmoud El Gohary by winning gold medals as a player and a coach.
Among the rewards for the Super Eagles was a $1.5 million first prize and a place at the FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil, where they will face world and European champions Spain, Tahiti and Uruguay.
Nigeria were forced into a late pre-match change when striker and four-goal leading scorer Emmanuel Emenike was ruled out by a hamstring injury sustained in the semi-final rout of Mali and experienced Ikechukwu Uche took his place.
Burkina Faso were able to retain the team that started against Ghana in a semi-final settled by a shoot-out after the red card given to midfielder Jonathan Pitroipa was rescinded when the referee admitted he erred.
It was only the third time the countries have met in the 56-year competition with Nigeria beating then-Upper Volta 4-2 in 1978 and Burkina Faso snatching a stoppage-time 1-1 draw in a Nelspruit group game last month.
The Mba goal gave the Super Eagles a deserved 1-0 half-time lead after 45 minutes that followed a predictable script with Nigeria dominating possession and scoring chances while the Burkinabe relied largely on counter-attacks.
Mba, one of two home-based stars in the starting line-up, struck on 40 minutes with a penalty-box flick over Mohamed Koffi and a left-foot shot into the far corner past helpless goalkeeper Daouda Diakite.
It was an opportunist goal by Mba and his second of the tournament, having struck a superb match-winner in the 2-1 quarter-final defeat of pre-tournament title favourites Ivory Coast.
Nigeria should have taken the lead much earlier as Diakite spilled a cross on 10 minutes into the path of Brown Ideye, whose shot at an unguarded goal was just too high.
A combination of Nigerian midfield creativity and a couple of defensive howlers by the Burkinabe offered several half chances to the Super Eagles that were squandered.
The early second-half exchanges mirrored the first period with the Nigerians pressing for a second goal that would leave opponents fielding a lone striker in Aristide Bance with a mountain to scale.
Diakiate did well to push away a hard, low Ideye cross-cum-shot and Moses should have done better in a two-on-one situation that favoured the Eagles only to timidly surrender possession with the Burkinabe goal in sight.
Although Spain-based Uche was a goal-scoring star of the qualifying campaign, he was making no impact on the final and gave way to Ahmed Musa nine minutes after half-time.
There was another Nigerian substitution not long after â this time enfored â with full-back Elderson Echiejile limping off to be replaced by Juwon Oshaniwa, while the Burkinabe introduced Wilfried Sanou for Florent Rouamba.
As the game moved into the final quarter there were chances at both ends with unmarked Musa slipping as he was poised to shoot inside the box and a Sanou drive at the other end finishing just wide of the far post.
STEPHEN KESHI Manages Nigeria to another AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS VICTORY
Stephen Keshi was the captain in 1994, the last time Nigeria won theAFRICA CUP OF NATIONS. He lead Nigeria to another victory in South Africa today with a combination of about six home-grown players and foreign based players.
More to come..... While I finish the bottle of Magners cider here.
Double lols....Gangnam styleeeeeeeeee.
Victory has brothers and sister and is sweet o.....
True Countessa mi, it wasn't their best outing of the tournament, but they delivered at the end. He he he no worry a committee is in the making to look into it, as well as share some oyel money to the boyz jare.
Meanwhile Up GEJ what an achievement breaking the 19 years nations cup drought during his term.
Yes o Keshi has made history as the second man to with the AFCON both as a player and as a coach. The fact of the mater is that irrespective of the make up of the team certain enemies of progress tried to have a field day with, Stephen Keshi, his staff and players will be known in the history books as NIGERIANS WHO WON THE AFCON. Food for thought but no doubt some Nigerians would have been wanting a different outcome. Oh well too bad for them.
I hope this victory now lays to rest the golliwog mentality of always looking to oyinbo coaches for success. Keshi has been vindicated in his recent comments about the madness many African countries adopt in hiring half baked oyinbo coaches.
The cut off is that you must be able to swallow stone dry akpu
I was making poundo for my mom one day and she said Biko add water,I don't eat that type your husband eats lol
A certain villager gave this babes this to hold....and snap, u have a picture....
Don't be provoked, this is not the place for it. You have done a good job in those posts. Ignore them and just go on celebrating.