The 2013 Africa Cup of Nations Final (AFCON 201) was a football match that took place on 10 February 2013 to determine the winner of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, the football championship of Africa organized by the Confederation of African Football (CAF). The match was held at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg which also hosted the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations Final and the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final. The tournament’s closing ceremony was held just prior to kick-off. The decision was announced in May 2012. The final was contested between Nigeria and Burkina Faso.
Sunday Mba scored the only goal as Nigeria won the final 1–0. Hence, Nigeria then represented CAF at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup.
Nigeria won the AFCON in 1980 and 1994, and were losing finalists in 1984, 1988, 1990 and 2000. Despite this, Nigeria were not favorites coming into the tournament due to a decline in its fortunes, as a result of which Nigeria did not even qualify for the tournament in 2012. New coach Stephen Keshi had brought young, home-based players such as Sunday Mba and Godfrey Oboabona, and foreign-based players like Victor Moses, Vincent Enyeama, Emmanuel Emenike, Brown Ideye, Mikel John Obi and Uwa Elderson Echiéjilé who were crucial to Nigeria’s run in the tournament.
Their first match was a 1–1 draw to Burkina Faso, where Nigeria scored through Emenike but Burkina Faso’s Alain Traoré cancelled out the lead with moments to go. They then drew with defending champions Zambia 1–1, as another late goal from a Penalty kick by Zambian goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene cancelled out Emenike’s second goal of the tournament. In their last group game against Ethiopia, they were going out to Zambia for a worse booking record, but thanks to Chelsea F.C. midfielder Moses, the Nigerians won 2–0 and advanced at the expense of the defending champions.
In the quarters, they defeated pre-tournament favorites Ivory Coast 2–1 in a shocking upset where Emenike and Mba scored goals. Keshi’s gamble of including six home-based players in the squad paid further dividends as Nigeria crushed Mali 4–1 in the semis (goalscorers Echiejele, Ideye, Musa and Emenike If the disputed goal is included, Emenike will be the tournament’s joint top scorer with four goals along with Ghana’s Mubarak Wakaso coming into the final.
Despite the narrow margin of victory, Nigeria’s win was considered a comfortable one, and the outsiders Burkina Faso were described as looking tired.
Early play in the match was characterized by bursts down the wings from Victor Moses, and two close chances for the Super Eagles. The first was a seventh-minute header from Efe Ambrose off a Moses’ free kick, and the second a Brown Ideye shot that flew over the crossbar. Burkina Faso showed little threat in the first half, and spent a lot of time in their own territory. Sunday Mba scored the only goal of the game after 40 minutes, when he collected a deflected shot, flicked the ball over Mohamed Koffi with his right foot, then volleyed the goal with his left.
Nigeria had several chances to extend their lead in the second half, but none were converted. In the 77th minute, Wilfried Sanou forced a fingertip save from Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama to prevent an equalizer. At the final whistle, Nigeria became the winners of the AFCON 2013.
By Oluwamayowa Akinyemi