By Nnamdi Ojiego

The Super Eagles of Nigeria will this evening, (7pm Nigerian time) at the National Stadium in Johannesburg slug it out with the Stallions of Burkina Faso in the final of 29th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations holding in South Africa.

The current set of Eagles coached by Stephen Keshi are on the brink of making history. Today’s game will provide them the opportunity to etch their names in gold by winning the highest soccer prize in Africa.

The last time Nigeria won the Cup was in 1994, with present coach, Keshi, then captain of the team, tinkered by Clemens Westerhof. In the final, two goals from Emmanuel Amuneke were enough to lift Nigeria to a 2-1 victory over the Chipolopolo of Zambia.

Nigerian players pose prior to the 2013 African Cup of Nations semi-final football match Mali vs Nigeria on February 6, 2013 in Durban. (LtoR, up to bottom) Nigeria's midfielder John Obi Mikel, (Nigeria's forward Brown Ideye, Nigeria's defender Kenneth Omeruo, Nigeria's forward Emmanuel Emenike, Nigeria's defender Godfrey Oboabona, Nigeria's defender Efe Ambrose, Nigeria's midfielder Victor Moses, Nigeria's forward Sunday Mba, Nigeria's goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, Nigeria's midfielder Ogenyi Onazi, Nigeria's defender Elderson Echiejile AFP PHOTO
Nigerian players pose prior to the 2013 African Cup of Nations semi-final football match Mali vs Nigeria on February 6, 2013 in Durban. AFP PHOTO

For the current stars, comprising the likes of Vincent Enyeama, Elderson Echiejile, Kenneth Omeruo, Godfrey Oboabona, Efe Ambrose, Sunday Mba, Ogienyi Onanzi, Jon Obi Mikel, Victor Moses, Brown Ideye and Emmanuel Emenike, the road to the final did not come easy.

In their opening group match against Burkina Faso, the Eagles were held to a 1-1, which was followed by another 1-1 draw with Zambia, before they finally hit their rhythm in their last group game against Ethiopia, which they won 2-0 to qualify for the quarterfinal as runners-up, behind Burkina Faso. However, their performances in the first two group matches drew harsh criticisms from different quarters.

In the quarter final, they defeated Cote d’Ivoire 2-1 to send out a strong warning that they were the team to beat. The semifinal match against Mali provided the Eagles the chance to show their strong attacking power as they clipped Malian Eagles’ wings 4-1.

Having gone this far, do you think Eagles can go all the way to bring this coveted trophy home? If you were in a position to advise Keshi and the boys, what would your advice be – in terms of formation and tactics? You can also make your predictions here .


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