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Men In Sports: Sunday Mba – AFCON 2013


Nigeria has won the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) three times, and in each of these wins, few players stood out to ensure that they delivered when it was needed most. The last time the Super Eagles of Nigeria won the AFCON was in the 2013 edition held in South Africa.

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After the final match between Nigeria and Burkina Faso, fans were chanting the name of Sunday Mba who scored the goal that made the difference as Nigeria cruised to a third AFCON win.

The AFCON story of Sunday Mba is interesting. Owing to Stephen Keshi’s project as Super Eagles coach which focused mainly on building a Nigerian national team squad with a blend of foreign and home-based professionals, Sunday Mba alongside other Nigerian league stars like Ejike Uzoenyi, Godfrey Oboabona, and few others, were handed invitations for the 23-man AFCON list of the Super Eagles.

Mba did not feature in Nigeria’s first game against Burkina Faso which ended 1-1 and the second game which ended in a similar fashion against Zambia.

The last group game was a must-win clash against Ethiopia if Nigeria would qualify for the quarter-finals. Stephen Keshi knew that he needed to do some experiments, thus, bringing Sunday Mba into the starting eleven.

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After showing glimpses of what he could offer the team in the 2-0 win over Ethiopia, Keshi handed Mba his second start in the quarter-final against the highly-rated Ivoirian team.

Mba would command a brilliant display in the midfield and capped it off with Nigeria’s second goal, a solo effort from the centre circle, in the game which saw the Super Eagles knockout out Ivory Coast with a 2-1 scoreline in the quarter-final.

Sunday Mba’s display in the final against Burkina Faso, earned him a national reputation, something he could not boast of prior.

Born on November 28, 1988, Mba has featured for NPFL clubs such as Enyimba, Rangers, Dolphins, and Warri Wolves. on the foreign scene, Sunday Mba who has been without a club since 2017, featured for European sides like CA Bastia of France, and Yeni Malatyaspor (Turkey).

Sadly, both goals at the AFCON 2013 were the last major impact Sunday Mba had in his footballing career.

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Ugo Chinedu

I am a Lion, I love to hit heights that seem impossible so I can motivate others and prove doubters wrong. For me, impossible is nothing. I'm open to learning and I love to read, travel and meet new faces.

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