Africa Cup of Nations 2013: What Win in AFCON Final Would Mean for Both Sides
The 2013 Africa Cup of Nations final on Sunday will pit Burkina Faso against Nigeria in what should be an exciting match to culminate the tournament.
Burkina Faso is riding high on a wave of momentum after a stunning victory over Ghana in its last match. The contest ended in a 1-1 tie, but Burkina Faso was able to emerge victorious in the penalty-shootout, 3-2.
Nigeria advanced to the final after a win against Mali, 4-1, in what was an impressive showing from the club's offense. Nigeria has been playing great of late and it couldn't come at a better time as the AFCON final approaches.
These two countries already met earlier in AFCON and the result was a 1-1 draw during group play.
This is an incredibly important match for both sides and will have significant implications for the winner. Let's take a look at what a win for each side would mean for the future.
Burkina Faso was thought to be doomed after a red card was handed out to its best player, Jonathan Pitroipa, in the win over Ghana. However, Pitroipa has since been cleared to play and that is a huge boost for this team (per ESPN.com staff).
The Stallions have not had many great moments in the history of this tournament, so it comes as a surprise that Burkina Faso is having so much success this time around. Their improbable run to the finals will put the Stallions in their first final at AFCON in the nation's history and that couldn't be bigger news.
The Stallions have never been respected much thanks to perennial poor play in the tournament, but a victory in this year's final will change all of that.
No longer will be the days when Burkina Faso is taken lightly and overlooked. As the champions of this tournament, not only will they be put on the map internationally, but the Stallions will gain a ton of confidence moving forward.
What a great day it would be for the people of Burkina Faso.
Nigeria has now been to seven finals in its history, with the last occurring in 2000 when they lost on penalties to Cameroon.
Before that disappointing finish, Nigeria had staked claim to two AFCON finals victories, once in 1980 against Algeria and the other coming in 1994 against Zambia. Nigeria has also finished in third on four different occasions since 2000, with the last time being as recently as 2010.
A win over Burkina Faso in this year's final would not only avoid what would be seen as a major upset, but it would also help Nigeria retake its place among the elite countries in this tournament.
Not to mention, Nigeria's victory would be its third in total at AFCON which would put it in sole possession of the fourth most titles in the history of the tournament. Countries such as Egypt (7), as well as Ghana and Cameroon (4) are currently ahead of Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo (2).
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