2013 African Cup of nations at the renamed National Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa - 'As it was in the beginning, so shall it be in the end' is a Biblical phrase that best describes the final fixture of the 2013 African Cup of nations at the renamed National Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa.
The two finalists teams -- Nigeria and Burkina Faso -- had met in the opening series of Group C and the last-minute goal by Alain Traore deadlocked the score line.
Somehow, Traore whose goal gave Burkina Faso the life line is no longer in the competition after the injury he sustained in the game against Zambia. He will not play any role in Sunday’s rematch.
For Burkina Faso and Nigeria who drew 1-1 in their first encounter in Nelspruit on 19 January, 'it is a case of he who fights and run away, lives to fight another day!'
The battle ground has, however, shifted to the calabash-shaped stadium in Johannesburg.
But this is not the first time that two teams that met earlier in the series will be contesting the final match.
There have been five previous instances and for Nigeria, it will be the third time the Super Eagles will have a rematch in the same edition of an African Nations Cup series.
Sadly, the two previous instances did not favour Nigeria. In 1988, the Super Eagles and Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions drew 1-1 in their Group B encounter in Rabat. They later met in the final match.
Despite Nigeria scoring a goal through Henry Nwosu which was disallowed, Cameroon won through a controversial penalty kick.
Two years later in Algiers, the Super Eagles were again involved in a rematch. They lost 5-1 in the opening game to their hosts, Algeria. But they survived all the way to meet Algeria again in the final. Nigeria lost 1-0.
The recurring loss of rematches is one issue that the Super Eagles will hope to lay to rest on Sunday.
The first ever rematch in the African Nations Cup was in 1968 when the present the day DR Congo (then Congo Kinshasa) lost to the defending champions, Ghana, 3-1, in a Group B match.
Both later met in the final and Congo had a sweet revenge, winning 1-0. It took another 14 years for the African Nations Cup to witness a rematch. Ghana and hosts, Libya, played a 2-2 draw in the opening game. They later met in the final match and drew 1-1 even after extra time. That was the tournament that shot Abedi “Pele” Ayew to limelight. Ghana won 7-6 on penalties.
It was in Ghana 2008 that the African Nations Cup final again presented a rematch. Egypt beat Cameroon 3-1 in Group A and again beat the Indomitable Lions 1-0 in the final to signal the waning powers of Cameroon in African football.