It was nineteen years ago that Super Eagle last won the Africa Cup of Nations championship. But once again they made another history in the annals of African football landscape by defeating the Burkina Faso by a alone goal scored by Sunday Mba.
This is a sweet and magnificent victory by The dominant Super Eagle, a breakthrough spearheaded by the great and enduring Coach of Super Eagle Stephen Keshi. Nigeria sports administration was always fond of employing and paying handsomely to foreign coaches to train and coach the Super Eagle, but with this victory, Coach Stephen Keshi has proven that a Nigerian can deliver. Therefore administration should have confident in her indigenous coaches and in Nigeria.
A history was made by Super Eagles Coach Stephen Keshi for " the first time for 21 years that a Black African coach has won the cup – Ivory Coast’s Yeo Martial was the last to do so in 1992. After Nigeria and Burkina Faso played out a 1-1 draw in their group match early on in the competition, the Super Eagles had grown in stature and went into the game as favourites. Burkina Faso, though, were buoyed by being able to name an unchanged line-up after Jonathan Pitroipa’s red card in the semi-final was rescinded, while Nigeria brought in Ikechukwu Uche for the injured Emmanuel Emenike," as rightly and accordingly stated by Ian Hughes BBC Sport.
Beyond sports, the victory by Coach Stephen Keshi and dominant Super Eagle portrayed that Nigerians and Nigeria do not need to look for salvation abroad. The country has all it takes to become a prosperous nation. The obsession of anything foreign is rooted in colonial mentality and inferiority complex, that is why Nigerians are streaming to London, Dubai and other places; spending their resources rather than boast local economy.
The time has come to respect and honor our local coaches by giving them opportunity to realize their dreams, ambitions and inspirations on the native land. In the words of a patriot and Coach Stephen Keshi after the victory:
“It is mainly for my nation. My dream was to make Nigerians happy. We are not there yet. This is a work in progress but I want to dedicate this to all Nigerian coaches, who have been praying for this. In Africa, they give you a job today and want you to win the World Cup the next day. This cannot work. You have to give local coaches a chance”
And he further emphasized, “To succeed, we need time and I thank God that all the years of waiting have finally ended. Our people do not know how to give you time to get your programme through. These things take time but people seem not to care about it. But I thank God for seeing us through”
And Coach Keshi concluded with these pronunciations, “I am an optimistic person. Even if the world is falling apart, I still believe. I told my players that we were coming here to win because I had faith. The hard work was also there and that made it very easy for us to go for the Cup”
Let Nigerians follow the examples of Keshi and Super Eagles. This is a new day in Nigeria and the beginning of something great by believing in our people and in Nigeria. Keshi and Super Eagles are benchmarks of patriots and patriotism. One day Nigeria shall overcome and become a winner in nationhood!
For the bold move, victory and triumph by Stephen Okechukwu Keshi and Super Eagles, AFRIPOL honored them with THE PERSONS OF THE MONTH.
Africa Political & Economic Strategic Center (AFRIPOL) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa. www.afripol.org firstname.lastname@example.org