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Football | Afcon 2017

Jonathan Pitroipa © Gallo Images

Five reasons why Burkina will win



To millions of Burkinabe, Sunday’s 2013 Africa Cup of Nations final between their national team and Nigeria is not an obligatory mission. The Stallions have done more than enough in the tournament to win the hearts of all their local fans.

However, the players and technical staff see things differently, as they keep refining their plots against the Super Eagles in a bid to top off their awesome exploit so far with an eventual triumph.They hang their hope on five things.

After struggling to book their place to the South Africa 2013, Burkina came on as one of the regular minnows expected to bow out in the group stage, but their appetite for more has been swelled by an overwhelming ascension to the grand finale and they now seem to be moving the dice through five major scenarios to stun Nigeria.

1)Compact and relentless push

Burkina Faso have learnt and adopted a compact and relentless midfield and attacking push, which has sustained their existence so far in the tournament, mostly against Togo and Ghana in the quarter and semi-finals respectively. By doing this, they tend to disrupt the structure and creativity of their adversaries and paddle them across turbulence to nervousness and frailty.

2) Absence of Emenike and Moses

Both players are the most dreaded in the camp of the Burkinabe and prayers have been intense against the proper mending of their situation ahead of Sunday’s clash. The Spartak Moscow striker’s pace and ability tofind holes in the opposing defence make Paul Put frantic with worries. The Chelsea player’s off-the-ball intelligence and pass delivery don’t make the Burkinabe very safe, so it’d be best if both do not play or are depleted by injuries.

3) Second half stamina

The Stallions are known for their resistance and enduring stamina, and are able to maintain the run in second half while their opponents are already gasping for air. That is one aspect they would uphold against the Super Eagles who have often evinced awful fatigue deep after the break.

4) Good goalkeeping

Burkina Faso goalkeeper Daouda Diakite may not be as renowned as Vincent Enyeama of Nigeria, but close analysts say the Stallions’ guardian has exhibited some flair for penalty keeping both at national team level and at his Belgian club Lierse, and even during training sessions. Thus, the team will hope, at the worst, hold the session at stalemate till all the final whistles and then throw in their goalkeeper to decide their fate.

5) Pressure shift

Unlike when Nigeria played Ivory Coast in the quarterfinals when the pressure was burning on the Elephants’ shoulders, it has shifted now unto the Super Eagles for Sunday’s meeting. The Nigerians are enjoying favourable previews across the board at same time accumulating



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