AFCON 2013 Finalist: Team Burkina Faso
(Reuters) – Factbox on Burkina Faso, who play in Sunday’s African Nations Cup final against Nigeria at Soccer City:
Previous appearances in African Nations Cup finals: 8
Previous best performance: Semi-finalist in 1998
FIFA world ranking Jan. 2013: 92
Belgian Paul Put was banned in his own country in 2007 for fixing matches involving his club Lierse with a Chinese betting syndicate. He took over as coach of the Gambia in 2008 and signed three-year deal with Burkina Faso last March. The 56-year-old is hoping his achievement in taking ‘Les Etalons’ to the final will help him get a job back home.
Charles Kabore (Olympique Marseille). Age: 24 (25 on Saturday). Pos: 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. Pos: Midfielder
Pitroipa has emerged as one of the players of the tournament with his speed play but may miss the final through suspension. 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 ($4.06 million)for him in 2011 and he has delivered 12 goals for them over the last 18 months.
Bakary Kone (Olympique Lyon). Age: 24. Pos: 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. Pos: 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.
Burkina Faso have made eight appearances in the last 10 Nations Cup finals but this is only the second time they have managed to get past the first-round group stage. It will be their first appearance in the final, a far cry from last year when they went home after losing all three group matches. They finished top of Group C, ahead of Nigeria and eliminating defending champions Zambia and played all five of their matches at Nelspruit’s Mbombela Stadium.