AFCON: Nigeria Keeper Celebrates Title by Trying, Failing to Pick Up Referee

Michael Cummings@MikeCummings37World Football Lead WriterFebruary 11, 2013

We've said it before, but it bears repeating. Among the many, many reasons we love the Africa Cup of Nations, the celebrations might rank the highest.

Now, as we prepare to bid farewell to the AFCoN, let's take another moment to appreciate the best the continent has to offer.

Nigeria won the title Sunday, defeating upstarts Burkina Faso 1-0 at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa. It was the third title all-time and first since 1994 for Nigeria, who will now play in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil this summer.

Sunday Mba, a fabulously-named 24-year-old central midfielder, scored the fabulously slick winner in the 40th minute (video here). The same teams had met in the group stage, with Alain Traore's stoppage-time equalizer giving Burkina Faso a 1-1 draw.

Burkina Faso had defeated Ghana on penalties in the semifinals and looked tired after playing 120 minutes in each of their previous two matches.

"Possibly, we were a little tired after two matches that went to extra-time, but I'm not going to look for excuses," said coach Paul Put (via BBC Sport). "The whole of Burkina Faso can be proud of their players."

Immediately after the final whistle, Nigeria keeper and captain Vincent Enyeama set out to celebrate with the first person he encountered. That person happened to be referee Djamel Haimoudi of Algeria.

To mark the occasion, Enyeama did what any of us would do and tried to lift Haimoudi off his feet.

Video of the attempt—which failed—appears above. It's our Set Piece Video of the Day for this post-AFCoN Monday. Enjoy.

"Winning this is mainly for my nation," said Nigeria manager Stephen Keshi (via BBC Sport). "When I came on board a year and a half ago, my dream was to make all Nigerians happy, and to construct a great Nigerian team. We are not there yet, it's still in process."

How far will that process take Nigeria? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

(H/T: 101 Great Goals)