African Cup Of Nations Team Profile: Burkina Faso

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World Cup Appearances: None
AFCON Appearances: Six
AFCON Titles: None

The Burkina Faso football team which is nicknamed Les Etalons (The Stallions) has had a number of outstanding performances at the continental stage in the past. They have made six appearances at the African Cup of Nations but the most remarkable moment was in 1998 when they hosted the tournament and went all the way to finish in fourth position, just outside the medal bracket.

In the last two championships, The Stallions missed out but it seems they went back to the drawing board to prepare a team to take them to the future. The evidence of their impressive youth programme was shown during the 2009 FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Nigeria where their youngsters missed a spot in the quarter-finals after being humbled 4-1 by Spain.

The senior lads are now expected to continue the successful trend by going past their Group B opponents Togo, as well as World Cup bound Ivory Coast and Ghana for a spot in the quarter-finals.

Road To Qualification

After qualifying from the second group of 2010 Africa Cup/World Cup qualifiers, The Stallions were placed in Group E together with Cote D’Ivoire, Malawi and Guinea for the third and final round of the campaign.

Cote D’Ivoire sealed their place at the 2010 World Cup and African Cup of Nations early in these qualifiers to leave the two remains spots for the other three teams. Burkina Faso also won a place in the continental finals after beating Malawi and Guinea at home and away to pocket 12 points. They lost to the Ivorians home and away.

Squad

The Stallions manager became the first coach to name a squad that will take part in the Angola finals. The selected players include:

Goalkeepers: Daouda Diakite (Mokawloo Al-Arab, Egypt), Germain Sanou (Saint-Étienne, France), Adama Sawadogo (ASFA-Y, Burkina).
Defenders: Ibrahim Gnanou (Alania Vladiskavkaz, Russia), Bakary Koné (Guingamp, France), Paul Koulibaly (Al Ittihiad Tripoli, Libya), Moussa Ouattara (Kaiserslautern, Germany), Madi Panandétiguiri (Leiria, Portugal), Mamadou Tall (Leiria, Portugal).
Midfielders
: Charles Kaboré (Marseille, France), Mahamoudou Keré (Charleroi, Belgium), Mohamed Koffi (Petrojet, Egypt), Aziz Nikiéma (Qingdao Jonoon, China), Jonathan Pitroipa (Hambourg, Germany), Florent Rouamba (Sheriff Tiraspol, Moldova), Sibiri Alain Traoré (Auxerre, France).
Strikers: Habib Bamogo (OGC Nice, France), Aristide Bancé (FSV Mainz, Germany), Moumouni Dagano (Al Khor, Qatar), Youssouf Koné (CFR Cluj, Romania), Youssouf Ouattara (Leiria, Portugal), Narcisse Yaméogo (Migan, Azerbaijan), Patrick Zoundi (Fortuna Düsseldorf, Germany).

The Coach

Paulo Jorge Rebelo Duarte


The 40-year old Portuguese coach has had a congested diary this year. Besides being a Burkinabe national team manager, Duarte has also been the coach of French Ligue 1 side Le Mans. He signed a contract with Le Mans this year while still coaching the Stallions but the responsibilities became too much and the French side relieved him of the managerial position on December 8.

This may be a blessing in disguise for Duarte who has been nicknamed "the Mourinho of Africa" for his contribution to Burkinabe. The nickname is not mere banter for he was Jose Mourinho’s assistant at Uniao de Leira in Portugal. And to further prove his billing, in just a year and a half he lifted the Burkinabe team from 110th to the current 46th place in the FIFA World rankings.

Star Player

Beli Moumouni Dagano

Dagano has been outstanding for The Stallions since he was first called for national duties in 1999.

The 28 year-old striker currently plays for Qatar’s side Khor which he joined in 2008. He has scored 10 goals for the club in 25 appearances. He had began his career with Ivorian club Stella Club d’Adjame before returning home to join Etoile Filante. But he left for Belgium club Germinal Beerschot a year later.

After an impressive season wth Germinal, Dagano was snapped up by another Belgium side, Genk. The striker was later to join French sides Guingamp and FC Sochau before flying to Qatar. For his national side Dagano has featured since 1999 and has made 43 appearances scoring 21 goals in the process. With these impressive performances, Dagano will be leading Burkina Faso in Angola.

Young Gun

Bakary Koné


The 21 years-old defender has already been a revelation in the last four years he has starred in the national team.

The French Ligue 2 side En Avant Guingamp defender started his professional career in 2005 when he joined Burkinabe club Etiole Filante. The following year he signed for Guingamp where he has stayed since. He made his club debut in May 2007 and he has since been a regular, scoring one goal in the process.

The youngster who has already made an impressive nine appearances for the Stallions will definitely play an important role in the Burkinabe rear guard in Angola as the team aim for the title.

Objective

The Stallions will be happy if they proceed to the quarters and possibly better their 1998 performance by finishing within the medal bracket. But to achieve this, they must overcome the hammer of the Ivorian Elephants and the anvil of the Ghanaian Black Stars.

Prediction

It will be near impossible for The Stallions to get a result against Ivory Coast and Ghana. Their best bet is to unleash their stings against Togo. But still a bottom place n the group seems more feasible.

Goal.com Africa