9 February 2013

Burkina Faso: Stamina Is Burkina Faso's Major Strength

Before this year, Burkina Faso had never won a match at the Nations Cup finals on foreign soil, having reached the last four as host in 1998, but the Stallions are now on the brink of their greatest victory.

No one can deny the fact that the west African nation deserves to be in the final, and if they upset the formbooks and pull off a shock victory, which they can, it will go down as the probably the biggest upset in history of the competition.

The good news for the Burkinabe is that striker Jonathan Pitroipa has been cleared by CAF to play in the final against Nigeria after his red card was rescinded.

Tunisian referee Slim Jdidi admitted that he mistakenly issued the Stallion's most valuable players with a second yellow card for simulation in the semi-final against the Black Stars.

Pitroipa's return is a major boosts for coach Paul Put, whose team has reached this far on the back of solid performances characterised by good work ethic, resilience and staying power.

Already missing the injured three-goal hero Alain Traore, the absence of the Rennes forward-cum-winger, the scorer of the match-winner in the quarter-final win over Togo, would have been a severe blow for the more surprise package of the two finalists.

But now that he will be available, it improves Burkina Faso's outside chances and rises their hopes of pulling off a shock victory which stands in the way of their first ever African title.

Put's team has been solid throughout the park, conceding few goals but most importantly getting the results. Their success thus far could be traced to their battling 1-1 draw against the Super Eagles in the first group game in which Traore score a late stoppage time equalizer-it set the tone for them.

While the Stallions will be playing in their first ever Cup of Nations final, Nigeria are seeking their third continental title following success in 1980 and the last one in 1994 when current coach Stephen Keshi was captain and his assistant Daniel Amokach one of the stars of the team.

The final will be a real tough battle between two very powerful teams which seem to know each other pretty well but the longer it stays in a stalemate, the higher the chances of Burkina Faso rewriting history.

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