Former Super Eagles Coach, Chief Adegboye Onigbinde
Former Super Eagles Coach, Chief Adegboye Onigbinde, has paid tributes to Coach Stephen Keshi and his players following their victory over the Stallions of Burkina Faso in the 29th edition of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON).
The victory ended Nigeria’s 19-year AFCON title drought while Coach Stephen Keshi has gone down into record books as equalling the feat of the late Egyptian Mahmoud El Gohary who won gold medals as a player and coach.
The CAF and FIFA instructor told NAN that he was elated like every other Nigerian, adding that it was sweet victory for the Super Eagles.
“I am happy that Keshi was able to beat my record. This has vindicated me on my hard stance that Nigerian coaches are better.
“I continued pressing it on him to be focused when he reached out to me because distractions could get him off the tracks.
“It is a victory for him and all African coaches,’’ he said.
Former Secretary General of the Nigeria Football Federation, Chief Taiwo Ogunjobi, also told NAN that Nigeria’s victory was well deserved, adding that the country was eagerly waiting for the cup.
“I am happy for Coach Stephen Keshi and all the players and I hope that we can continue in this spirit in the World Cup campaign,’’ he said.
In his own reaction, former Green Eagles player, Felix Owolabi, called for a heroic welcome for the Super Eagles.
He urged the Federal Government to set a day aside for a public holiday in order to receive the triumphant Super Eagles.
Further speaking to NAN, a former Super Eagles defender and Manager of Shooting Stars Football Club, Ajibade Babalade, said a new vista had been opened for Nigerian football with the Super Eagles victory.
“Indeed I am overwhelmed with joy. It is a new beginning for Nigerian football,’’ Babalade said.
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 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against Ghana in a semi-final settled by a shoot-out after the red card given to midfielder Jonathan Pitroipa was rescinded when the referee admitted he erred.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-old 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 Sunday Mba goal gave the Super Eagles a deserved 1-0 half-time lead after 45 minutes that followed Nigeria’s dominating possession and scoring chances while the Burkinabe relied largely on counter-attacks.
Mba, one of the 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 goalkeeper Daouda Diakite.