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Football: Triumphant Nigeria arrive home to heroes welcome

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Nigeria's Super Eagles arrived back home on Tuesday after winning the country's first Africa Cup of Nations trophy in nearly two decades and were welcomed by adoring crowds ahead of meeting the president.

Hundreds welcomed the team back at the airport in the capital of Abuja before a ceremony later in the afternoon on the grounds of the National Stadium.

They were also due to attend a reception late Tuesday, to be hosted by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Along the road from the airport toward the city, school children dressed in their uniforms waited for the team convoy and waved Nigerian flags.

A crowd of several hundred fans, some waving the national green and white flag, received the team on arrival at the national stadium in a bus draped in the same colours.

The deputy minister of Abuja, Olajumoke Akinjide, led the team of officials that received the players at the stadium at a ceremony that lasted less than 10 minutes.

The players, their coach, Stephen Keshi, and other officials stepped down from the bus, shook a few hands of their fans, and stepped back on to head to their hotel before meeting Jonathan later at the presidency.

Keshi and his team were given a loud cheer when they emerged from the bus and supporters surged forward to greet them.

The Nations Cup victory in South Africa has thrilled Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation but where the team has in recent years failed to play up to its potential.

A 1-0 win over pre-tournament rank outsiders Burkina Faso, thanks to a winner from locally based player Sunday Mba, gave the football mad nation its first African championship since 1994.

Celebrations however were initially tainted by the announcement that coach Keshi was resigning.

The Nigerian Football Federation later released a statement said to be signed by him and saying he was changing his mind after the sports minister intervened.

Keshi is one of only two men to win the African Cup of Nations as both a player and a coach.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130212/football-triumphant-nigeria-arrive-home-heroes-welcome-0