The holders look to preserve their competition participation, while Burkina Faso can secure their progress with a point
H.Traore, B.Kone, Koulibaly, Panandetiguiri
Pitroipa, Rouamba, Kabore, Koffi
Nkausu, Sunzu, Musonda, Mbola
Lungu, Chansa, Sinkala, Kalaba, Katongo
In their final group game, Burkina Faso and Zambia clash at the Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit, with qualification to the knockout rounds the very visible prize.
Few would have predicted, when the Afcon schedules will drawn out, that Burkina Faso would top the group at this late stage, yet the Stallions’ four points have been earned on merit. Zambia, on the other hand, are in danger of crashing out - their euphoric victory a year ago but a distant memory.
The Burkinabe will fly into the contest filled with confidence after their emphatic 4-0 victory over Ethiopia in the same stadium they compete in now. Still, it would take a brave man to bet against Zambia, who won so many admirers with their emotional victory in 2012. The Stallions’ victory last week might have flattered them as well, with Ethiopia becoming visibly demoralised as the game progressed.
The west Africans will, however, be without veteran keeper Abdoulaye Soulama, recalled to the team by Paul Put, but who was dismissed in the second half for handling outside his area.
Alain Traore, Nigeria’s nemesis back in the first match, will once again look to be the hero. The French-based player, currently the tournament’s top scorer, could score the goals to secure Burkina Faso’s place in the knockout stages.
Herve Renard will hope not, and will be able to call on the sublime talents of Rainford Kalaba, who looked so influential and impressive against Nigeria, to try and save his side. The crux of last season’s victorious side will also be present, and the likes of Christopher Katongo, Joseph Musonda, and the heroic Kennedy Mweene will do everything in their power to keep the side alive.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Despite not having scored in the tournament yet, Burkina Faso captain Moumouni Dagano is a veritable goal machine, and is currently his nation’s top scorer.
Zambia are currently 34th in Fifa’s world rankings, putting them among Africa’s finest nations.
Stallions coach Paul Put is Belgian, and was previously manager of The Gambia.
At the same stage of the tournament last year, Zambia qualified by securing victory over Equatorial Guinea in Malabo.
Christopher Katongo has scored 19 goals in 80 appearances for Zambia.