AFCON 2013 Finalist Preview: Burkina Faso – who are they?

By IndepthAfrica
In 2013 Africa Cup of Nations
Feb 9th, 2013
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Burkina Faso will make history on Sunday by appearing in the Africa Cup of Nations final for the first time.

They face Nigeria who, while not favourites for the tournament at the start are now hotly tipped to win, even though the teams drew 1-1 in the first group match.

You might not know a lot about Burkina Faso who are only participating in the tournament for the eighth time, so let us fill you in.

Ready for battle: Burkina Faso players train before their big dayReady for battle: Burkina Faso players train before their big day

Ten facts you might not know about Burkina Faso

1 The capital is Ouagadougou.

2 The country’s population stood at 16.9million in 2011.

3 The major languages spoken are French plus indigenous languages.

4 The national team are ranked 92nd in the world by FIFA.

5 The team are managed by Belgian Paul Put. He was banned from coaching in his native country for three years in relation to his involvement in a match-fixing scandal.

6 The country was known as Upper Volta until 1984.

7 The team is nicknamed Les Etalons, which translates to English as “The Stallions”, in reference to the legendary horse of Princess Yennenga.

8 Burkina Faso have never qualified for the World Cup.

9 The all-time leading goalscorer is Moumouni Dagano who has scored 31 goals in 60 games since making his debut in 1999. The 32-year-old currently plays in Qatar for Al Sailiya after spells in Belgium and France.

10 Itoile Filante de Ouagadougou and ASFA Yennenga are the most successful clubs in Burkinabe domestic competition, with 12 league titles each.

First time: The nation have never reached the Africa Cup of Nations final beforeFirst time: The nation have never reached the Africa Cup of Nations final before

The star players

Charles Kabore (Olympique Marseille). Age: 25 Position: Midfielder

Utility player and leader of the Burkinabe side, who can be used at right back but has proven a strong midfield anchor with a healthy penchant for going forward. He has a long-term contract at Marseille, where he was a championship winner in 2010 but has been the subject of transfer speculation concerning English and Italian clubs.

Jonathan Pitroipa (Stade Rennes). Age: 26. Position: Midfielder

Pitroipa has emerged as one of the players of the tournament with his speedy play. He moved from Ouagadougou to Europe as a teenager to play in Germany, starting at SC Freiburg and then moving to Hamburg. Rennes paid 3 million euros (£2.5m) for him in 2011 and he has delivered 12 goals for them over the last 18 months.

Bakary Kone (Olympique Lyon). Age: 24. Position: Defender

Became a father during the tournament in South Africa, where his solid defensive play has ensured the concession of just two goals by Burkina Faso, only one of them in open play. Joined Lyon from Guingamp in 3.8 million euros transfer deal in August 2011. Came on as a substitute in last year’s French Cup final to pick up a winners’ medal.

Aristide Bance (FC Augsburg). Age 28. Position: Forward

Tall, gangly striker with distinctive short dreadlocks, dyed blond who was man of the match in Wednesday’s semi-final triumph over Ghana. Plays as the team’s lone forward. Returned to the Bundesliga this season with struggling Augsburg after two years in the Middle East. Previously played at Mainz.

That's mine: Bakary Kone slides in to tackle Togo's Emmanuel AdebayorThat’s mine: Bakary Kone slides in to tackle Togo’s Emmanuel Adebayor

Route to the final

BURKINA FASO
Group C

Jan 21 (Nelspruit) drew with Nigeria 1-1 (Alain Traore)
Jan 25 (Nelspruit) beat Ethiopia 4-0 (Alain Traore 2, Djakaridja Kone, Jonathan Pitroipa)
Jan 29 (Nelspruit) drew with Zambia 0-0

Quarter-final Feb 3 (Nelspruit) beat Togo 1-0 (Jonathan Pitroipa) after extra time

Semi-final Feb 6 (Nelspruit) beat Ghana 3-2 on penalties after 1-1 draw (Aristides Bance)

NIGERIA
Group C

Jan 21 (Nelspruit) drew with Burkina Faso 1-1 (Emmanuel Emenike)
Jan 25 (Nelspruit) drew with Zambia 1-1 (Emmanuel Emenike)
Jan 29 (Rustenburg) beat Ethiopia 2-0 (Victor Moses 2 pens)

Quarter-final Feb 3 (Rustenburg) beat Ivory Coast 2-1 (Emmanuel Emenike, Sunday Mba)

Semi-final Feb 6 (Durban) beat Mali 4-1 (Elderson Echiejile, Brown Ideye, Emmanuel Emenike, Ahmed Musa)

Spot on: Aristides Bance celebrates after scoring a penalty in the semi-final against GhanaSpot on: Aristides Bance celebrates after scoring a penalty in the semi-final against Ghana

Pitroipa ban rescinded

Jonathan Pitroipa was suspended for the final until the Confederation of African Football overturned his ban.

He had been wrongly issued with a second yellow card for simulation in the semi-final clash with Ghana.

Pitroipa fancied his side’s chances against the Super Eagles. He told PUMA: ‘I think Nigeria is a very good team, I would say that they have a very good attack, they have great individual players who can make the difference anytime during the game.

‘We played against them for our first game and we saw that this is a great team.

‘It won’t be easy for us but after all I think we don’t have anything to lose, this is the final and we are going to play hard.

‘We have a chance to win this final and everything is possible, the best and most motivated team is going to win.’

No ref! Jonathan Pitroipa was wrongly booked and his suspension has been rescindedNo ref! Jonathan Pitroipa was wrongly booked and his suspension has been rescinded

What about Nigeria?

Injured Nigeria forwards Victor Moses and Emmanuel Emenike did not practice on Friday and coach Stephen Keshi will not know if they can feature until just before the game itself.

Super Eagles officials said tests were conducted on both players but did not give any information about the results.

Moses, the Chelsea winger who set up two goals in Nigeria’s 4-1 win in the semi-finals, twisted his left ankle in the second half, while Spartak Moscow’s Emenike is nursing a muscle injury also sustained against Mali.

He scored his fourth goal of the tournament in that game and is one of the tournament’s top strikers.

Nigeria are bidding for their first title since 1994 – the Super Eagles had not made it to the final since 2000 before this year.

Fitness check: Victor Moses walks round the training pitch with a coachFitness check: Victor Moses walks round the training pitch with a coach

Big chance: Victor Enyeama (left), Moses and John Mikel Obi (right) chat before the finalBig chance: Victor Enyeama (left), Moses and John Mikel Obi (right) chat before the final

Potential line-ups:

Nigeria: Enyeama; Elderson, Efe Ambrose, Obobona, Omeruo; Ideye, Mikel, Onazi; Moses, Emenike, Mbah

Burkina Faso: Diakite; Bakary Kone, Koulibaly, Panandetiguiri, Koffi; Djakaridja Kone, Pitroipa, Ouattara; Kaboré, Sanou, Dagano

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