Moses starts, Emenike injured for Nigeria
SOWETO, South Africa (AFP) – Nigeria’s star winger Victor Moses starts Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations final against Burkina Faso after overcoming an ankle injury, but leading scorer Emmanuel Emenike limped out of contention.
Moses, who scored both goals in the Super Eagles’ 2-0 first-round win over Ethiopia, has overcome the injury he picked up in Wednesday’s semi-final drubbing of Mali.
But in-form Spartak Moscow striker Emenike, who suffered a more serious hamstring problem in the same match, has failed to make Stephen Keshi’s starting XI, with Ikechukwu Uche taking his place.
Emenike, who was not even fit enough to be named on the bench, is joint leading scorer in South Africa on four goals with Mubarak Wakaso of Ghana.
Villarreal striker Uche shone during the qualifying stages for the 2013 Nations Cup before ceding his place to Emenike.
He leads the Nigerian attack with Brown Ideye.
Veteran defender and captain Joseph Yobo once again misses out through injury with goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama retaining the skipper’s armband.
Attacking midfielder Jonathan Pitroipa features for Burkina Faso after having the red card he received in the semi-final penalty shoot-out win over Ghana dramatically rescinded on Friday after Tunisian referee Slim Jdidi admitted he erred in red carding the Rennes star.
Coach Paul Put named an unchanged side for the Burkinabe’s first Nations Cup final, with Marseille midfielder Charles Kabore retaining the captain’s armband because first-choice skipper Moumouni Dagano did not make the starting line-up.
Aristide Bance, who scored the equaliser to send Wednesday’s last-four tie into extra time before Burkina Faso eventually prevailed on penalties, was once again his team’s lone striker.
Algeria may have been knocked out in the first round, but the Maghreb nation were represented in the final by referee Djamel Haimoudi.
Burkina Faso: Daouda Diakite, Mohamed Koffi, Bakary Kone, Paul Koulibaly, Mady Panandetiguiri, Djakaridja Kone, Charles Kabore (capt), Florent Rouamba, Prejuce Nakoulma, Jonathan Pitroipa, Aristide Bance
Coach: Paul Put (BEL)
Nigeria: Vincent Enyeama (capt), Elderson Echiejile, Efe Ambrose, Godfrey Oboabona, Kenneth Omeruo, Ogenyi Onazi, John Obi Mikel, Sunday Mba, Victor Moses, Ikechukwu Uche, Brown Ideye
Coach: Stephen Keshi
Referee: Djamel Haimoudi (ALG)