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Football | Afcon

Didier Six © Gallo Images

Togo, Burkina Faso out to make history



Sunday's Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) quarterfinal clash in Nelspruit offers the chance for two of the continent's minnows to write a new page in their respective histories.

Burkina Faso have only once progressed beyond the group stages of the continental showpiece when they finished fourth on home soil in 1998. On seven other occasions they were eliminated in the group stages.

Togo's record is even less impressive – the Sparrow Hawks have played in six Afcon finals, but have never made it beyond the first round.

Togo coach Didier Six saw his team squeeze through to the last eight after a tension-filled 1-1 draw with Tunisia. Having already exceeded expectations, the Frenchman said on Saturday there was no reason his men could not aim higher.

"I told the players that they had already written an important page of history for Togolese football but also that there is still some room to write more and that we should play it 100 percent," Six said.

"All the work done in the last 15 months is starting to pay off."

Six also saw the tournament as an opportunity for his players to market themselves and earn moves to Europe's bigger clubs.

"For the players, the Afcon is an extraordinary window. I told the players that I would like to open a good bottle of Champagne or something else when seeing one of them signing for a high level club."

Emmanuel Adebayor, who along with Serge Gakpe forms a potent combination in attack, said he still had strong memories from three years back, when three members of the Sparrow Hawks contingent were killed in a bus attack while travelling to the Afcon finals in Angola. He hoped to avenge that tragic day with success in 2013.

"It's a good thing [reaching the knockout stages] for the country and a good thing for me," Adebayor said.

"I hope now we have a chance to win the cup. We just have to go for it.

"It's a historic thing. We feel very sorry for those people [who were killed in the bus attack].

"We had a nice team together, and some of those people have gone. It's a tough one."

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