AFCON 2013, A tournament that showcased the good, bad and the ugly of African football, culminated in Sunday’s final between Nigeria and Burkina Faso. Nigeria (or The Super Eagles as they are affectionately known) came out on top 1-0, re-establishing regional dominance with their 3rd African Cup of Nations title.
There were a number of strong individual performances in the tournament. Here we take a look at 4 of the best.
Jonathan Pitroipa (Burkina Faso) – The slightly built 26-year-old Rennes winger’s searing pace and dizzying array of tricks were in evidence throughout Burkina Faso’s incredible tournament run, though his presence in The Final was threatened by a ridiculous red card in the Semi-Final against Ghana. Fortunately CAF saw sense and rescinded the card, allowing for Burkina Faso’s star player to grace The Final. Though his presence was unable to sway the result, Pitroipa will take some consolation in being voted the best player of AFCON 2013.
Vincent Enyeama (Nigeria) – The Super Eagles goalkeeper’s ability has never been in doubt, though accusations of inconsistency have plagued his career. At AFCON 2013 however Enyeama was a model of consistency, delivering near faultless displays and pulling off some truly remarkable saves, most notably in the Quarter-Final against the Ivory Coast and in the Semi-Final against Mali. With performances of this quality one has to wonder why Enyeama has spent most of his career in the low profile Israeli League.
Seydou Keita – Of the plethora of gifted defensive midfielders Mali have produced over the years, former Barcelona star Keita has arguably been the best of the lot. Capped 80 times by his country, the veteran midfield defensive lynchpin, now plying his trade with Dalian Aerbin in The Chinese Super League was influential in helping the Saharan country reach the Semi-Final of AFCON 2013, scoring 2 goals along the way.
Emmanuel Emenike – Top scorer at AFCON 2013 with 4 goals, the 25 year-old’s pace, power and finishing ability were on display in abundance throughout the tournament, as he continued his good form for club side Spartak Moscow. With Emenike at the spearhead of their attack, The Super Eagles will be hoping to continue their recent progress and re-establish themselves as a global force in the game.
Guy P., soccersweep
Follow us on Twitter @soccersweep10