Abuja (Nigeria), Feb 12 (IANS) Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan lauded the country's football team for their victory at the just concluded African Cup of Nations (AFCON) hosted by South Africa.
The Super Eagles beat Burkina Faso 1-0 in the final Sunday night to be crowned African champions for a third time after triumphs in 1980 and 1994, reports Xinhua.
Jonathan said Monday he was overjoyed at the stunning victory of the Super Eagles 19 years after the country last lifted the trophy in 1994.
"Well done patriots, you have done Nigeria proud, 2013 is obviously the year of Nigeria. We have emerged as the beacon of hope on the African continent by proving to Africa and the world that a strong Nigerian team put together and trained by a Nigerian coach can stand the test of time and successfully rise to the challenge of the most formidable opponent," the president said.
According to Jonathan, the die-hard Nigerian spirit, which makes the citizens to fight hard and overcome all challenges, had assisted Stephen Keshi's team to emerge strong and steady.
While thanking the government of South Africa and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for a well-organised tournament, Jonathan said he looked forward to receiving the national team at the Presidential Villa here Tuesday.
The Nigerian leader also commended the Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi, officials of the Nigeria Football Federation and others who contributed to the astonishing transformation of the team from underdogs to winners.
Apart from winning the trophy, Nigeria's Emmanuel Emenike, who missed the final match due to a harmstring injury, won the Golden Boot award with four goals in the competition.
Emenike and four other Nigerian players - goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, Efe Ambrose and Chelsea FC duo of Victor Moses and John Mikel Obi - were also named in the tournament's best 11.