21 January 2013

Burkina Faso: Players to Follow - Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso narrowly edged Central African Republic (C.A.R) on a 3-2 aggregate to book their place at the 2013 Afcon after a nervous return leg in Ouagadougou, where the Stallions toiled until the final minute before scoring the winner. The Burkinabe were exempted from the first round following their participation at the 2012 Afcon. They lost the first leg of the second round by a lone goal in Bangui and came from behind to win the return fixture 3-1 after conceding an early 7th minute goal through David Manga of Serbian club FK Partizan.

The coach PAUL PUT

Paul Put took over from Portuguese manager Paulo Duarte in March following the Stallions' woeful return from the 2012 Nations Cup, where they lost all three of their games and crashed out in the group stage. The former Gambia coach, who was fired for failing to qualify the Scorpions to the same competition, caught the attention of the Burkinabe football federation, which backed its decision to recruit the 56-year-old with his ability to detect and groom young talent.

The Belgian, who has coached top teams such as Lokeren and Lierse in the Jupiler Pro League, will have in hand a bunch of young and brilliant players he will be required to turn into stars or at least reorganise Burkina Faso football and subsequently lay the foundations for a sound Burkinade sporting future.

The captain MOUMOUNI DAGANO

Moumouni Dagano joined the national team in 1999 while playing for local side Etoile Filante. His consistency in goalscoring and loyalty to coaches quickly earned him an enviable status within the set-up. After plying his trade in Belgium for a couple of years at Germinal Beerschot and Gent, he moved to France in search of greener pastures, landing at Guingamp before moving on to Sochaux.

Despite his deftness in the air, passing skills and good positional sense, the 31-year-old striker struggled to make an impact in Europe and thus failed to catch the attention of bigger clubs, prompting his exit to the Gulf, where he has essentially settled in Qatar. He remains Burkina Faso's all time top scorer with 31 goals and combined with his leadership qualities, Dagano is expected to deliver once more for his side at South Africa 2013.

The star player ALAIN TRAORE

Alain Traore is known for his pace and elusive dribbling style. Although his work rate is yet to be at its best, the 22-year-old striker made himself a central figure at his former French club Auxerre, where he played seven seasons from 2005 and stayed high in the league's scorers list for months, before joining Lorient in July 2012.

He appears to be an indispensable forward to every new coach that takes over the Burkina Faso outfit, due to his penchant for goals and ability to set up other players, while regularly holding up the ball. Traore's brace against the Central African Republic helped his side to scramble a late winner that earned their ticket to the forthcoming event in South Africa.

The emerging talent BETRAND TRAORE

Bertrand Traore's performance at the 2009 Under-17 World Cup and 2011 African U17 Championship showed he had a bright future. The 17-year-old midfielder was at Auxerre alongside his older brother Alain Traore, honing his skills in the club's youth team.

His 2010 trial at Chelsea Academy proved unsuccessful although spreading wide rumours across his homeland that he had already signed for the London club. Although he is yet to sign a professional contract, Traore's good passing skills and close control have earned him invitation to the Stallions fold, joining the 2012 Afcon squad and becoming one of the youngest players at the tournament. While he is being nourished with confidence and exposure for now, Traore is likely to be among those to hold the future of Burkina Faso football.

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