Afcon Celebrations for Nigeria
The Orange Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament ended in a blaze of glory for Nigeria at the First National Bank Stadium in Johannesburg on Sunday, 10 February 2013. They defeated Burkina Faso 1–0 in the final.
The last time Nigeria won Africa’s biggest prize in football, the tournament was also hosted in South Africa. Now, nearly two decades later, they have returned and reclaimed the trophy.
It was a special moment for Nigerian coach Stephen Keshi. The last time he lifted the Cup, he was team captain. He is the second man ever to win the trophy as both player and coach.
The tournament was a celebration of football and Sunday brought an end to another successful international tournament hosted by the Rainbow Nation. It took 23 days and 31 games to get to the final. South Africa can be proud of the spirit that its people showed for the duration of the competition.
The tournament was organised inside a year – a triumph of logistics after the tournament was moved from Libya following the violent change of government in that country. South Africans embraced the tournament, and both the opening and closing matches were sold out.
Although Bafana Bafana didn’t progress beyond the quarter-final of the tournament, the team won the hearts of their supporters. The rollercoaster performance suggested there was more to come, but a long path yet to run. Reaching the 2014 World Cup will be a dream for our national team.
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport thanks supporters who rallied behind Bafana Bafana during the tournament. Our national flag once again flew high, and together our vuvuzelas created an exuberant atmosphere. As celebrations erupted for Nigeria, a curtain came down on the showpiece that we as South Africans were proud to host.