CAN: Nigeria and Burkina Faso, who will be the king of Africa?

CAN: Nigeria and Burkina Faso, who will be the king of Africa?

Niamey : Niger | Feb 10, 2013 at 2:07 AM PST
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Ivory Coast's Bakary Kone (L) fights for the ball with Burkina Faso's Ibrahim Gbanou (R)

The final CAN-2013 offers unexpected poster from Nigeria, seeking a third coronation, and Burkina Faso, a novice at this stage of the race and that would cause a huge stir in succeeding Zambia Johannesburg on Sunday (1830 GMT).

Nobody would have dared to bet anything at the beginning of the tournament on both nations, all eyes are trained on the then Ivory Coast Drogba and Yaya Toure, Ghana and the three nations Maghreb (Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco ).

But CAN-2013 has been marked by a succession of surprises and the collapse of continental heavyweights, a gap in which Super Eagles and Stallions have rushed.

Nigeria, who will play his seventh final, is a heavyweight on the continent but it was low profile when arriving in South Africa.

Absent in 2012, combining experienced players and young shoots with long teeth, selection led by Stephen Keshi, a member of the Nigerian team last African champion in 1994, began the competition so sluggish, fueling the skepticism in this country before from strength to strength.

His career in the final phase (success against Côte d'Ivoire Mali 2-1 and 4-1) took everyone agrees, revealing talents such as Emenike robust center-forward, top scorer of the tournament with four goals (tied with Ghanaian Wakaso) and his friend Moses, 22 years old striker, already enlisted by Chelsea.

Affected in the semifinals, both players are slightly uncertain but Keshi was meant reassuring Saturday. "Emenike (thigh), you are not 100% sure, his physical condition has improved and we'll know more tomorrow (Sunday), he said. Moses, he had a small injury (ankle) it is a race against the clock with the doctor. If 80% of his physical abilities, it takes as Emenike. We will make a decision tomorrow (Sunday) morning. "

In the middle, the Super Eagles can count on the metronome "Blues" Obi Mikel, only international star of the team before the outbreak of the new generation in this CAN.

Nigerians have for them the physical, technical and a charismatic leader in the person of "Big Boss" Keshi, who could join in the annals of Egyptian Mahmoud El Gohary, the only one who lifted the trophy as a player and coach .

But Burkina Faso proved that he possessed a mind capable of overthrowing the mountains.

The Stallions had the merit to win a C including the defending champion Zambian unceremoniously ejected from the CAN in the first round, and ... Nigeria, the two teams are also separated in a draw (1-1).

The suite was even more eventful with injury gunner Alain Traore pass for the rest of the CAN, an extension in the quarterfinals against Togo (1-0 aet) before a semi-final against Ghana controversy marked by the now famous "case Pitroipa" (1-1 aet, 3 tab 2).

Unfairly excluded, as recognized by the Tunisian referee Slim Jdidi, Rennes striker was reinstated in its rights and will compete in the final. His art of dribbling will be useful to throw Burkina Nigerian defense generally inexperienced and find a place in the Confederations Cup (15-30 June in Brazil).

"Nobody expected to see us there but we believed in ourselves, summarized the Rennais. It had initially set a goal to pass the group stage but after it was no longer attached limits. Gradually as matches, we took confidence. "

Keshi has not stopped his hand to emphasize the youth of his troops, refusing any comparison with the glorious team of 1994.

"The team of 1994 took five years to build, while the current team has only five weeks, he said. We are growing and I'm trying to build something. But what we have done so far will not help us Sunday. It is only in the final you must prove that you are the best team in Africa. "


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Troussier had success leading African teams -- including the Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Burkina Faso -- in the 1990s
Troussier had success leading African teams -- including the Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Burkina Faso -- in the 1990s
rsa76 is based in Karāchi, Sind, Pakistan, and is a Reporter on Allvoices.
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