Nigeria - Burkina Faso Preview: Super Eagles aim for third Afcon title against determined Stallions
The Stallions are set to make history while the Super Eagles are hoping to win the Nations Cup trophy for a third time
By Babajide Alaka
Ambrose, Oboabona, Omeruo, Elderson
Onazi, Mikel, Mba
Ideye, Emenike, Moses
Koffi,B. Kone, Koulibaly, Panandetiguiri
D. Kone, Kabore, Rouamba, Pitroipa, Nacoulma
The route to qualification for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations tournament was different for both sides. While the Super Eagles walloped Liberia 6-1, the Stallions needed a stoppage time goal to edge out the Central African Republic 3-3 on aggregate scores.
But that is where the difference ends, and since their 1-1 draw on January 21, both sides have grown in stature and will now contest the final of the 2013 edition of the Nations Cup with a chance to represent Africa in the Fifa Confederations Cup later this year in Brazil.
On the road to the final, Nigeria scored 10 goals and conceded four while Burkina Faso have scored seven and conceded two. Both have improved but Burkina Faso will be missing in form striker Alain Traore, who equalised against Nigeria and scored three goals during the tournament before picking up an injury. The good news for the Burkinabe is that star player Jonathan Pitroipa has had his red card from their last match against Ghana rescinded after Caf decided that his booking was a mistake.
The Nigerians also have injury concerns for two of their better players – Emmanuel Emenike, who has scored four goals, and the chief instigator against Mali, Victor Moses, who has added two strikes. Burkina Faso will also have to make changes to their line-up, with right-back Koffi a major doubt.
But as Jonathan Akpoborie said, “The Eagles have to continue playing like they did against Cote d’Ivoire.” That is good advice, as nothing has been won yet by either team, and while they are already both commended for coming this far, history will only remember the country that wins the title.
For Burkina Faso, this is uncharted territory and for Nigeria, it is a chance to return to the high standards of previous years.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
If the Nigeria win on Sunday, Stephen Keshi will become the second man to win the Nations Cup as coach and player after Egyptian, Mahmoud Al Gohari.
Burkina Faso are into their first ever Nations Cup finals.
Emmanuel Emenike will be hoping to beat Mubarak Wakaso to the highest scorer award - he has three goals to Wakaso's four.
Paul Put has been banned for life from coaching in Belgium on account of a match-fixing scandal in 2007.
Moumouni Dagano (pictured) has played in six Nations Cup tournaments but has only scored one goal.
Nigeria has played in the final of the Nations Cup six times and won the trophy on two occasions - in 1980 and 1994.
Burkina Faso is ranked 92nd in the world by Fifa while Nigeria is ranked in 52nd place.
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Top 3 Predictions
Nigeria 3-1 Burkina Faso
- 26.25 %
Nigeria 2-1 Burkina Faso
- 18.52 %
Nigeria 2-0 Burkina Faso
- 16.91 %
|International Friendlies (FR)||Sep 10, 2013||Nigeria 4 - Burkina Faso 1|
|Africa Cup of Nations (ACN)||Feb 10, 2013||Nigeria 1 - Burkina Faso 0|
|Africa Cup of Nations (ACN)||Jan 21, 2013||Nigeria 1 - Burkina Faso 1|
|Nov 18, 2013||Italy 2 - Nigeria 2||FR|
|Nov 16, 2013||Nigeria 2 - Ethiopia 0||WCQ|
|Oct 28, 2013||Jordan 1 - Nigeria 0||FR|
|Oct 13, 2013||Ethiopia 1 - Nigeria 2||WCQ|
|Sep 10, 2013||Nigeria 4 - Burkina Faso 1||FR|
|3||Uwa Elderson Echiejile||Defender|
|10||John Obi Mikel||Midfielder|
|12||Préjuce Niguimbé Nakoulma||Midfielder|
|14||Wilfried Benjamin Balima||Striker|
|21||Abdou Razak Traoré||Midfielder|
|-||Pan Pierre Koulibaly|