Africa Cup of Nations 2013: Lessons as Moses and Keshi lead Nigeria
Africa Cup of Nations 2013: What lessons did we learn as Nigeria sealed a narrow victory over Burkina Faso to win third title?
England have missed a trick with Victor Moses
The Chelsea forward represented the Three Lions from under-16 to under-21 level, but switched allegiances to be fully capped as a senior international for his nation of birth. Moses was forced to leave Nigeria as an 11-year-old when his parents were murdered and moved with his uncle to London. However, 11 years later the 22-year-old has proved to be one of the stars of this year’s Africa Cup of Nations, his scintillating form in the knockout stages of the competition inspiring the Super Eagles to victory over tournament favourites Ivory Coast and a semi-final victory against Mali. Roy Hodgson will be cursing his luck at missing out on an exciting prospect, but Moses will go down in Nigerian folklore for his pivotal role in guiding Stephen Keshi’s side to Afcon glory.
Afcon for the underdogs
Is there a more unpredictable tournament in world football than Africa’s top continental competition? Last year rank outsiders Zambia piped a Didier Drogba inspired Ivory Coast outfit to victory on penalties, this year it was Nigerians who knocked out the hot favourites en route to the final where they disposed of equally un-favoured Burkina Faso. The Stallions had never reached this stage of the competition before and just making it to the last two must be regarded as a huge achievement, especially after they saw off Afcon heavyweights Togo and Ghana to set up a clash with the Super eagles. Elsewhere hosts South Africa fell at the first knockout hurdle and the smallest nation in the competition, Cape Verde, proved they could mix it with the continent’s best.
Stephen Keshi, the African Beckenbauer?
Keshi captained the Super Eagles to their last Africa Cup of Nations success in 1994. Fast forward 19 years and the 51-year-old coach has once again lead Africa’s sleeping giants to continental glory. Keshi was not afraid to ship out the dead weight he felt the previous Nigeria squad was carrying, former Newcastle United forward Obafemi Martin’s was left at home with Keshi instead opting for young talent such as Chelsea’s Victor Moses, Sunday Mba and the exciting Emmanuel Emenike. In a tournament characterised by low scoring games, Keshi’s Super Eagles side played free flowing, attacking football and became fans’ favourites. Keshi masterminded victory over Ivory Coast, keeping the Elephants’ big names quiet and allowing Moses to cause havoc on the break. This young Nigeria side are worthy Afcon winners and. with Keshi at the helm, could be an exciting prospect at the World Cup in Rio next year.