Legacy !!! Stephen Keshi Lives on As We Remember Nigeria’s 2013 Triumph


Nigeria’s AFCON triumph in 1980 was nostalgic and 1994 was incredible, but the 2013 victory was one I will describe as legendary.

In an era where the Super Eagles were underdogs, the team soared to greatness and forever wrote their name in the history books.

The team had failed to qualify for the previous tournament, but bounced back and proved doubters wrong.

Among the things that made 2013 beautiful was the involvement of home based players, among whom Sunday Mba stood tall.

The Midfielder scored the winner against Ivory Coast and also the winner against Burkina Faso in the final.

Speaking with FL, Sunday Mba recalls, “That feeling can’t leave me, anytime I remember it still flashes through my mind, it’s a feeling I will never forget in my life.”

How will he ever forget, how will anybody ever forget, it was a moment of pure glory. It was a reminder to the rest of Africa that Nigeria still stood up there among the Continent’s elites and all this was thanks to the discipline of head Coach Stephen Keshi.

Recalling the moments with Keshi and what the Coach stood for, Mba also revealed how many people, including those in the NFF who expected them to fall against Ivory coast, but Keshi shielded them from the negativity outside, while also instilling unity within the squad.

“Keshi was like a father to all of us in the squad, he is a true leader,” Mba said about the late Coach.

Stephen Keshi, former captain and later Coach of the Super Eagles passed on three years and four months after the triumph.

“There was a plane waiting for us during the game against Ivory Coast, so that when we lose, we’ll fly directly to Nigeria, Keshi made sure the news did not get to us.”

“There was Unity in the camp, we were together as family and the result started coming. I wasn’t the only home based player, but I was the only one that broke into the team. The foreign base players treated us well. There was no discrimination and Late Stephen Keshi made sure of that.”

It will forever be in the hearts of those that witnessed the tournament played in South Africa, it was a moment to be proud of as a Nigerian.

Many will wax lyrically about the triumph in ’80 and ’94, but, it is just a simple reminder to all that the less talk about Keshi’s Eagles achieved everything they did including making it through to the round of 16 at the 2014 World Cup a year later.


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