Nigeria's Sunday Mba (L) is challenged by Burkina's Djakaridja Kone during the Cup of Nations final on February 10, 2013
AFP IS CLOSING THIS LIVE REPORT after Nigeria won the Africa Cup of Nations for the third time in their history on Sunday with a deserved 1-0 win over Burkina Faso in the final at Soccer City stadium in Soweto.
Sunday Mba's opportunist strike five minutes before half-time ended up separating the sides, but Stephen Keshi's team should have won by two or three had it not been for some wasteful second-half finishing.
Burkina Faso's best chance fell to Wilfried Sanou but the striker, who had only entered the fray as a substitute eight minutes earlier, saw his 73rd-minute cross-shot brilliantly turned around the far post by Vincent Enyeama in the Nigeria goal.
The victory gave the Super Eagles their first Cup of Nations trophy since they triumphed over Zambia in Tunisia 19 years ago and prevented Burkina Faso from claiming the continental trophy for first time.
Winning their third Cup of Nations title in Soweto was particularly sweet for Nigeria, who had been robbed of the chance to defend the title there in 1996 because a political cold war with South Africa led to Nigeria withdrawing.
Among the rewards for the Super Eagles was a $1.5 million first prize and a place at the FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil later this year, where they will face world and European champions Spain, Tahiti and Uruguay.
Read on to find out how all the action unfolded in front of 90,000 fans in the suburbs of Johannesburg, and for more reaction to the victory from South Africa and back in Nigeria follow our Twitter feed at @AFP:
2105 GMT: Rather more joyous scenes from Lagos, Nigeria's huge port city of eight million (at last official count), according to AFP's Nigeria correspondent Mike Smith.
"Fireworks at d viewing centre," Smith tweets on his @MikeSmith_AFP handle above a picture of some exploding rockets outside the National Stadium.
2055 GMT: The news of Burkina Faso's defeat is not going down well among the fans of The Stallions in Ougadougou.
"Huge disappointment among the fans here," writes AFP's Thomas Morfin from the west African country's capital. "Deflation on the faces of supporters after the final whistle. They're going home in silence."
2050 GMT: Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe and his second wife Grace attended tonight's final, along with King Mswati III of Swaziland, according to tweet of Zwelinzima Vavi, leader of COSATU, South Africa's largest trade union and a government alliance member.
"Wow - my other friends here too! King Mswati & RG plus sis Grace" Vavi tweets on his @Zwelinzima1 handle.
Vavi was in VVIP box, AFP's South Africa correspondent Johannes Myburgh tells me, so he should know.
2040 GMT: Now it's Nigeria's turn - their players are all up on the stand with their winners' medals and the Super Eagles lift the Cup of Nations trophy at Soccer City stadium!
2036 GMT: Burkina Faso's player trudge disconsolately up onto a makeshift stand in the middle of the pitch to collect their runners up medals.
The Stallions will have to wait until 2015, when Morocco host the next tournament, for a chance to win their first ever Cup of Nations title.
2026 GMT: The Nigeria players form a circle on the pitch, offering prayers to the heavens after their historic triumph, their first in this tournament since 1994 when they beat Zambia in the final in Tunisia.
2024 GMT: A first-half goal from Sunday Mba has given Nigeria a third Africa Cup of Nations title, and well-deserved on the balance of play.
90+4 mins: FULL-TIME: Nigeria 1 Burkina Faso 0
NIGERIA WIN THE AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS!
90+2 mins: YELLOW CARD! Nigeria's Brown Ideye in the book for a deliberate handball - last chance for Burkina Faso... but Moumouni Dagano fires the free-kick high and wide over the bar.
89 mins: SUBSTITUTION: Nigeria's goalscorer Sunday Mba is replaced by former Everton defender Joseph Yobo.
And Burkina also make a chance as Abdou Traore comes on for Bakary Kone.
85 mins: CHANCE! Nigeria should have wrapped it up there but Victor Moses can't force the ball past Daouda Diakite in the Burkina goal.
Then Musa sends in a cross which Brown Ideye can't get a foot to - will the Super Eagles regret these missed chances?
83 mins: SUBSTITUTION: Moumouni Dagano, Burkina Faso's record goal-scorer, is thrown on for centre-back Paul Koulibaly as coach Paul Put rolls the dice.
79 mins: Sunday Mba blazes high and wastefully wide for Nigeria -- signs of nerves as Stephen Keshi's side clearly feel they need a second goal.
73 mins: GREAT SAVE! Excellent work from Vincent Enyeama in the Nigeria goal as Wilfried Sanou fires in a low shot that he tips around the post.
That's the closest the Burkinabe have come all game.
Nigeria squandered a chance at the other end just before that on the break as Victor Moses played in Ahmed Musa but rhe substitute lost his footing at the crucial moment.
70 mins: YELLOW CARD! Nigeria's substitute Juwon Oshaniwa goes straight in the book for dragging back down the right flank.
66 mins: SUBSTITUTION: And Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi immediately makes a change too, bringing on left-back Juwon Oshaniwa for Elderson Echiejile.
65 mins: SUBSTITUTION - Wilfried Sanou replaces Florent Rouamba for Burkina.
59 mins: YELLOW CARD! Nigeria's John Obi Mikel also gets a caution for arguing with the referee over the Omeruo booking.
58 mins: YELLOW CARD! Nigeria's Kenneth Omeruo goes in the book after what seems an innocuous clash of knees with Burkina midfielder Jonathan Pitroipa, who hobbles off to the widelines for treatment..
55 mins: CHANCE! Another chance for the Super Eagles to double their lead as Victor Moses breaks into the Burkina half and into the area but his shot is blocked by a defender. He claims handball but replays show there was little intent.
54 mins: SUBSTITUTION - Ahmed Musa replaces Ikechukwu Uche up front for Nigeria
48 mins: CHANCE! Nigeria almost double their lead as Victor Moses plays in Brown Ideye. The striker breaks into the area and fires in a powerful low shot across the box that 'keeper Daouda Diakite manages to get a hand to and deflect past his far post.
1932 GMT: The second half is under way in Soweto, as the drone of the vuvuzelas is cranked up several decibels around Soccer City stadium.
1926 GMT: Despite Nigeria's half-time lead, they're not losing faith in Ougadougou.
"We're going to win 2-1!" a young boy called Salif Belem tells AFP's Thomas Morfin.
45+2 mins: HALF-TIME! Nigeria 1 Burkina Faso 0
42 mins: For those that don't know him, Sunday Mba is a 24-year-old midfielder who currently plays for Warri Wolves in Lagos. The club moved their from Warri in Delta State after promotion to the Nigerian Premier League in 2003.
40 mins: GOAL! Nigeria 1 Burkina Faso 0
Sunday Mba gives the Super Eagles the lead!
Great goal -- the Nigeria striker juggles the ball on the edge of the area before stretching to rifle in a left-footed shot past the stationary Daouda Diakite in the Burkina goal.
37 mins: Thousands of Burkina Faso fans are following the game from the west African country's capital Ougadougou, AFP reporter Thomas Morfin writes.
"In the Est suburb around 3,000 Burkinabè supporters are following the match on a big screen -- but in total silence. Before the match the vuvuzelas were being blown as fans sung their song "2013, it's the years of the Stallions!" but maximum concentration has now settled over the crowd."
33 mins: YELLOW CARD! Burkina's Florent Rouamba goes into the referee's notebook for a rash challenge that brings down the onrushing Victor Moses near the halfway line. Not his first foul of the game and he'll have to be careful from now on.
23 mins: First real sight of goal for Burkina as Aristide Bance, with his distinctive dyed blonde dreadlocks, lines one up but fires it over from 30 yards.
15 mins: Burkina's Paul Koulibaly attempts a ridiculous back-heel just outside the area that goes straight to Nigeria's Brown Ideye, but the striker wastefully gives the ball away in turn.
11 mins: CHANCE! Best opening of the game so far falls to Nigeria as a corner is played long to the far side of the area before it's headed back into the danger zone.
Burkina goal keeper Daouda Diakite fails to claim cleanly, allowing Brown Ideye a shot on goal but his effort flies over the bar from eight yards.
10 mins: Scrappy start to the game though Nigeria the more threatening up front - the Super Eagles' Ogenyi Onazi has taken a knock and is receiving treatment on the sidelines.
5 mins: Chelsea's John Obi Mikel takes a boot in the stomach from Burkina Faso's Charles Kabore but the Nigeria midfielder seems fine to continue.
"Several thousand fans are gathered to watch the final on two big screens outside the National Stadium in Lagos," AFP correspondent Mike Smith writes from Nigeria's most populous city.
1830 GMT: KICK-OFF - they're under way at Soccer City as referee Djamel Haimoudi blows his whistle...
1829 GMT: And for Burkina Faso the good news is that attacking midfielder Jonathan Pitroipa starts after having the red card he received in the semi-final penalty shoot-out win over Ghana rescinded on Friday after Tunisian referee Slim Jdidi admitted he erred in dismissing the Rennes star.
Belgian coach Paul Put named an unchanged side for what is 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.
Algeria may have been knocked out in the first round, but the Maghreb nation were represented in the final by referee Djamel Haimoudi.
1826 GMT: Some more details on Nigeria's starting line-up before they kick-off -- striker Ikechukwu Uche of Spanish club Villarreal shone during the qualifying stages for the Nations Cup before ceding his place to Emmanuel Emenike but he will lead the Nigerian attack with Brown Ideye.
1823 GMT: Both teams are walking out for anthems - a huge roar goes up and the vuvuzela drone is ratcheted up five notches.
1820 GMT: "The 90,000 capacity Soccer City stadium is virtually full," AFP reporter Nick Reeves writes from the ground in Soweto.
1818 GMT: The Burkina Faso side is unchanged from their surprise semi-final win over Ghana on Wednesday -- here are the full teams:
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)
1814 GMT: Some team news for Nigeria -- their star winger Victor Moses will start after overcoming an ankle injury picked up in Wednesday's semi-final win over Mali, but leading scorer Emmanuel Emenike is on the bench.
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.
1808 GMT: "The pitch is looking pristine -- Burkina Faso won't know what's hit them after the threadbare surface in Nelspruit, their home for their five games running up to the final," Nick Reeves writes from Soccer City.
Burkina Faso, nicknamed 'The Stallions', played their five games at the Mbombela Stadium in the the capital of South Africa's Mpumalanga province where a fungal infection killed off grass leaving a sand-strewn surface.
Some commentators said Burkina's familiarity with the poor surface gave helped them to overcome the more-fancied Ghana side in the semi-final.
1800 GMT: "Four South African air force jets perform a low fly past over Soccer City, their engines momentarily silencing the vuvezalas and startling some of the crowd," AFP reporter Nick Reeves writes from Soweto.
"The opening ceremony has started with dancers outlining shape of Africa, performing the slogan to this tournament, 'Beat of Africa'."
"After three weeks of typically poor Nations Cup crowds, its heartening to see 90,000 capacity Soccer City filling up nicely."
1754 GMT: Thousands of supporters have been pouring into Soccer City stadium this afternoon, also known as 'The Calabash' due to its resemblance to an African pot or gourd.
They are mainly Nigerian fans dressed in green and white football shirts and hats and blowing vuvuzelas, the elongated trumpets that are an ever-present backdrop to matches in South Africa. And they're confident of victory tonight:
"I believe we are going to win," Shedrack Adahor, a 24-year student from Nigeria studying in South Africa tells AFPTV's Claire Price outside the stadium.
"We are not scared of Burkina. We expected to play a bigger team like Ghana."
WELCOME TO AFP'S LIVE REPORT on the final of Africa's elite international football tournament, the Africa Cup of Nations, which sees favourites Nigeria take on Burkina Faso at Soccer City stadium in the Soweto area of Johannesburg.
"Soccer City is awash with the white and green of Nigeria fans, with the insistent drone of vuvuzelas ever present backdrop to matches in South Africa," my colleague Nick Reeves writes from the stadium.
"The pitch is looking pristine, Burkina Faso won't know what's hit them after the threadbare surface in Nelspruit, their home for their five games up to the final."
The final is set to kick off at 1830 GMT so stay with us for all the action as it unfolds.