The Straits Times
Published on Feb 11, 2013

Nigerians erupt with joy after long wait for title


LAGOS (AFP) - Nigerians frustrated by years of waiting for their football team to again play to its potential erupted with screams of joy and celebration on Sunday as the country clinched the African Cup of Nations.

Thousands who gathered near the national stadium in Lagos, the largest city of Africa's most populous nation, to watch the final on two big screens hugged one another, danced with abandon and held plastic chairs aloft.

They counted down the final seconds and fireworks exploded above them after the 1-0 win by their Super Eagles over Burkina Faso was assured, giving the country its first Nations Cup title since 1994. The crowd included some dressed in traditional Yoruba robes and hats, supporters painted in the national colours of green and white, and of course many with Nigerian flags.

"It has been long," said 32-year-old Walter Samuel shortly after the match ended and with the crowd around him swaying as local hip-hop blared on speakers from the stage. "This is the Super Eagles we have been looking for for so long."