By JOHN EGBOKHAN
Triumphant Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi has said that he hopes that Nigeria’s success at the 2013 AFCON in South Africa would usher in a new dawn of glory for soccer in the country.
Keshi, against all odds, weekend, led a new crop of Eagles, comprising six players playing their professio0nal soccer in Nigeria, to AFCON glory, when they defeated Burkina Faso in the final held at the National Stadium in Johannesburg.
On the road to the final, the Nigerian side saw off favourites, Cote D’Ivoire and Mali and generally played some of the best football in the tournament. It did not come as a surprise that five of the players in the Nigerian team, comprising Jon Obi Mikel, Vincent Enyeama, Emmanuel Emenike, Victor Moses and Efe Ambrose made the CAF Best 11 of the tournament.
And speaking of how the success of the Eagles can be the launchpad for greater things, Keshi said that with more opportunities given to local players that Nigeria can return to the lofty heights of the 1990s.
“I hope that this a just the beginning of greater things for Nigerian soccer. We are on a rebuilding process. It is just five weeks old and the result that we got in South Africa is really amazing and speaks a lot of what lies ahead in the future.
“I have always said that this country is blessed with talents and that there are no limits to what we can achieve as a people if we believe in ourselves and that is what I did with this team. I believed in my players and they gave me the result that I wanted from them.
“Nigeria can achieve a lot if we believe that we can do it. We are the architect of our success or failure. My hope is that the success of the Super Eagles will usher in a new dawn for our soccer. Our people need this rediscovery badly.
“We need to return to our rightful place in football. I believe that we still have a lot to achieve in the future. This is just the beginning of great things to come, if we all stick together”, added Keshi, who is the only Nigerian to win the Nations Cup as a player and coach.