Encomiums have been heaped on the Super Eagles by the technical crew of the Golden Eaglets following the senior national team’s victorious outing at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Johannesburg on Sunday.
The Super Eagles claimed Nigeria’s third AFCON title after a 1-0 win over Burkina Faso courtesy of a 50th minute goal by Sunday Mba which ended the country’s 19-year long wait to conquer the continent. The gallantry displayed by the Super Eagles throughout the tournament according to Golden Eaglets’ Head Coach, Garba Manu (MFR), is a foretaste of a brilliant year for Nigerian football.
“We are so happy for the success of the Super Eagles at the 2013 AFCON because this is a big boost for Nigerian football,” Garba said. “We prayed for them and we are so happy that they made Nigerians proud in the end.”
He further commended Super Eagles’ Head coach, Stephen Keshi for his painstaking efforts in rebuilding the team from the scratch, adding the victory is a morale boosting to him as he prepares his wards for the forthcoming 10th African Under-17 Championship in Morocco.
“Of course, we have to salute the courage of Keshi for taking some home-based players to the tournament,” noted Garba who assisted late Yemi Tella when Nigeria won the 2007 FIFA Under-17 World Cup.
“Significantly, the rest of the national teams will have to emulate the Super Eagles and bring more trophies to Nigeria this year.”
Speaking in the same vein, Nduka Ugbade, a member of the 1994 AFCON-winning team and current Golden Eaglets’ assistant coach, stated that the Super Eagles have once again demonstrated the innate Nigerian spirit against all odds.
“I told some people that the Super Eagles would win the tournament by beating Cote d’Ivoire and I’m happy that I have been vindicated,” said Ugbade, the first Golden Eaglets’ captain that won the FIFA Under-16 World Cup in 1985.
The Golden Eaglets’ Princeville Hotel Camp in Calabar was a scene of extraordinary celebration on Sunday after the Super Eagles’ added a third AFCON title following earlier successes recorded in 1980 and 1994.
“We were absolutely delighted about the Super Eagles’ victory,” added Goalkeepers’ coach, Emeka Amadi.