10 February 2013

Uganda: Afcon - How the Two Finalists Match-Up

Johannesburg — WHEN Nigeria confronts Burkina Faso in today's 2013 Orange Nations Cup final, there will be a number of mouthwatering head-to-head match-ups on display at the National Stadium in Soweto.

Below is a guide on how the two sides will measure up in front of what should be a sell-out crowd.


Vincent Enyeama (Nigeria) v Daouda Diakite (Burkina Faso)

Enyeama is a top quality goalkeeper with vast experience. He has few downsides but often positions himself well. He has been integral to Nigeria's run in the tournament.

But so has Burkina Faso's Diakite, who has been part of a solid back-four that has conceded just two goals so far. He is steady and a good shot stopper.


Josiah Omeruo (Nigeria) v Henri Traore (Burkina Faso)

Omeruo is a forceful and good tackler with great drive. He is offensively good.

But Traore, who is likely to replace injured Mohamed Koffi, is equally a determined raider from deep. Traore will offer Burkina's front runners smooth support from the defensive third when possession is gained.


Godfrey Oboabona (Nigeria) v Mady Panandetiguiri (Burkina Faso)

Oboabona has improved as tournament progressed. He will force Nigeria's attacking wingers back by running forward off the ball. He is also strong with an accurate left foot.

On the other side, Panandetiguiri is a rangy full-back that uses his left foot well. He will try to cover Burkina Faso's left side effectively.

Central defenders:

Elderson Echiejile (Nigeria) v Bakary Kone (Burkina Faso)

Echiejile is a strong defender with pace and great timing in the tackle. He has created a solid partnership with Ambrose which the Stallions will find hard to crack.

But so has Kone alongside Koulibaly. This has been dream defensive pair in the tournament.

Kone jumps like a salmon and leads like a lion. He passes well under pressure and tackles intelligently. He will do the same today.

Central defenders:

Eric Ambrose (Nigeria) v Keba Koulibaly (Burkina Faso)

Ambrose is tall and fantastic. He is a fantastic link between the Super Eagles' back-four and attacking midfielders. He will face off with Koulibaly, who has shown good game reading since the tournament started. He also uses the ball confidently. He is as solid as a rock.

Holding midfielders:

Ideye Brown (Nigeria) v Djakaridja Kone (Burkina Faso)

Brown is a grafter that has tidy control and makes enthusiastic surges. He tucks in well when the ball is lost and gives good width when it is regained.

On the other side, Ivorian-born Kone has presence. His tackling and clever positioning has often allows Charles Kabore the opportunity to conduct proceedings.

Right attackers:

Ogenyi Onazi (Nigeria) v Ali Rabo (Burkina Faso)

Onazi has nice touches and good fitness. He gets forward in build-ups with sharp pace over 20-30 yards and combines brilliantly with Emmanuel Emenike.

Rabo is likely to replace the suspended Pitroipa. Although he doesn't effectively reflect Pitroipa, he bounces around well on the right side of Burkina's midfield, prods and probes the opposition throughout games.

Attacking midfielders:

John Obi Mikel (Nigeria) v Charles Kabore (Burkina Faso)

The Chelsea midfielder exudes lovely touches and has great vision. He also passes the ball well out to the wide areas.

He will however confront Rouamba, a player, whose ball protection is second to none. Rouamba is elegant, easy and comfortable when moving in possession.

Lead strikers:

Emmanuel Emenike (Nigeria) v Aristide Bance (Burkina Faso)

He has been a revelation in this Nigerian team. His work ethic has equally been superb. He will shoulder Nigeria's goal scoring burden today.

While Emenike is efficient, Bance is the opposite. He is extremely wasteful.

But all he does is unsettle the opposition's defenders with his gangly figure.

He will be nightmare for the Super Eagles.

Support strikers:

Victor Moses (Nigeria) v Rouamba (Burkina Faso)

The Chelsea striker has in the previous games dropped off Emenike well to link with the team's three-man midfield and the results have been priceless.

On the other side, Rouamba works hard and will be one of the Stallions' creative hubs today.

Left attackers:

Sunday Mba (Nigeria) v Prejuce Nakoulma (Burkina Faso)

Mba often looks to hit the space behind teams that play the high-line. He troubled Mali.

Nakoulma on the other hand, thrives on intelligent movement and keeps full-backs occupied with industry. He also has plenty of pace to burn.

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