AFCON 2013 Final: Nigeria v Burkina Faso Preview
The Stallions are set to make history while the Super Eagles are hoping to win the Nations Cup trophy for a third time
The route to qualification for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations tournament was different for both sides. While the Super Eagles walloped Liberia 6-1, the Stallions needed a stoppage time goal to edge out the Central African Republic 3-3 on aggregate scores.
But that is where the difference ends, and since their 1-1 draw on January 21, both sides have grown in stature and will now contest the final of the 2013 edition of the Nations Cup with a chance to represent Africa in the Fifa Confederations Cup later this year in Brazil.
On the road to the final, Nigeria scored 10 goals and conceded four while Burkina Faso have scored seven and conceded two. Both have improved but Burkina Faso will be missing in form striker Alain Traore, who equalised against Nigeria and scored three goals during the tournament before picking up an injury. The good news for the Burkinabe is that star player Jonathan Pitroipa has had his red card from their last match against Ghana rescinded after Caf decided that his booking was a mistake.
The Nigerians also have injury concerns for two of their better players – Emmanuel Emenike, who has scored four goals, and the chief instigator against Mali, Victor Moses, who has added two strikes. Burkina Faso will also have to make changes to their line-up, with right-back Koffi a major doubt.
But as Jonathan Akpoborie said, “The Eagles have to continue playing like they did against Cote d’Ivoire.” That is good advice, as nothing has been won yet by either team, and while they are already both commended for coming this far, history will only remember the country that wins the title.
For Burkina Faso, this is uncharted territory and for Nigeria, it is a chance to return to the high standards of previous years.