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Keshi wants Nigeria to keep improving

10 February 2013 23:34

Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi said winning the Africa Cup of Nations is just another step for his side as he looks to build a 'great' team.

Keshi, who took over after the side failed to qualify for the 2012 edition of the tournament, watched on as his players won the final in Johannesburg thanks to Sunday Mba's 40th-minute goal against Burkina Faso.

But Keshi, who captained Nigeria to the Afcon title in 1994, said the team must continue to improve.

"We're not there yet," he told reporters.

"My plan was to build a good team for Nigeria when I came on board almost a year-and-a-half ago.

"Now we are on the path to building a great side."

Goalscorer Mba hailed the victory as 'a dream come true' in what was the Super Eagles' first final since 2000.

"I'm so happy it is a dream come true. I don't know what to say," Mba told Eurosport.

"We really worked hard and we were looking forward to this day and I'm so happy for this.

"It will go a long way towards my career. This is my first time and I'm very happy.

"We gave all that we had."

Keshi became just the second person in history to win the trophy as a player and coach, after Egyptian Mahmoud Al Gohari.

Nigeria will now represent Africa in the Confederations Cup later in the year.

Meanwhile, Burkina Faso coach Paul Put praised the spirit of his players, who were contesting their maiden Africa Cup of Nations final.

Put expressed his delight in reaching the final which far exceeded his country's expectations.

"Today we showed too much respect for Nigeria in the first 45 minutes but that's football and in the second half we tried to do everything possible and were just a little bit unlucky," he said.

"We have to be great when you lose and small when you win so congratulations to Nigeria and to my players. I am very proud of what we have proved in this tournament and I am very proud and very happy for my players."

Put said there were no excuses for his team at the end of a long and gruelling tournament.

"It is possible that we were a bit tired as we had played several games but I don't want to search for excuses," he said.

"I'm more happy about the team because we have played a great tournament and everybody participating in this tournament."

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