Preview: World Cup qualifying battle for the last African spot
Algeria ended a 24-year wait by qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The country is hoping to follow up on this achievement by making their fourth appearance at the tournament next summer.
History is against the Stallions of Burkina Faso who have never played at a World Cup. They will be up against Algeria’s remarkable record of 19 matches unbeaten in Blida, which stretches all the way back to 2002.
However, the advantage is the Stallions’ ahead of the second leg. After amazing the public at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations by grabbing silver, Burkina Faso are poised to complete the year on a high.
UK viewers can tune in to British EuroSport / HD and ITV4 to follow their favourite English Premier League stars of African origins such as Chelsea’s Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel fight to carry the ultimate trophy to Nigeria.
Thanks to ESPN3 and Watch ESPN, soccer fans in the United States of America have been able to watch all matches thus far. The last two fixtures of a total of 32 AFCON 2013 battles will take place this weekend. The huge event kicked off on Saturday, January 19, 2013 with hosts South Africa drawing goalless against Cape Verde. A lot happened since that opening match.
In the knockout stages, the Bafana Bafana lost to semi-finalists Mali on penalties. Cape Verde's dream came to an abrupt end against Ghana, Nigeria stunned Ivory Coast and so did Burkina Faso against Emmanuel Adebayor's Togo.
The semi-final stage provided plenty goals and thrills as the Black Stars suffered a heart-breaking loss to the Stallions while the Super Eagles brushed Mali aside. Watch the Third-place final between Ghana and Mali live at 13:00 EST / 18:00 GMT on Saturday, February 9, 2013. Catch the big final, Nigeria vs Burkina Faso, live on Sunday, February 10 at 13:00 EST / 18:00 GMT. Which country will end up winning the precious trophy?
In their semi-final encounter against the Black Stars, the Stallions were victims of arguably the worst officiating ever seen at this tournament in South Africa. They had a good penalty call turned down before the referee awarded a dubious one for the Ghanaians to break the deadlock in the first half.
However, backed by confident coach Paul Put, Burkina Faso fought back impressively. They went on level terms in the 60th minute through Aristide Bance. This strike pushed the game into extra-time where Prejuce Nakoulma had a wrongly disallowed potential winner before Pitroipa got controversially sent off.
The Black Stars play as if they have understood and mastered one major guideline: it is not how well you perform that counts but how good you are at finding your way out.
In their quarter-finals, for example, only two of their eight shots were on target; they converted these two strikes to win the match 2-0. Confidence is high in Ghana’s camp thanks to the influence of names like striker Wakaso and goalkeeper Dauda.
With three clean sheets and eight goals in their four Africa Cup of Nations matches, the Black Stars look free from headaches at the back or upfront. Remarkably, they have done that without the help of the influential Ayew brothers whom coach Kwesi Appiah controversially excluded from the AFCON 2013 squad.
Nigerian fans will not accept a slow start from their team even if it has been almost three years since the Super Eagles last appeared on a big stage. Stephen Keshi’s side are under intense pressure to deliver in South Africa but they possess great momentum.
The controversial exclusion of playmaker Peter Odemwingie for this tournament will be re-evaluated and judged based on Nigeria’s display. The Super Eagles, who drew blank in their 2013 Africa Cup of Nations warm-up match against debutants Cape Verde, could find it hard to break Burkina Faso’s goal line.
For many, the Chipolopolo’s triumph at the 2012 AFCON was purely a matter of luck. However, coach Herve Renard will be out to prove that his side deserved the cup. Defending the title will not be easy but putting on a good show is a must for the reigning African champions.
The Zambians enter the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa on the wrong foot having failed to score a single goal in January. Three warm-up matches ended in one defeat and two consecutive draws against Angola, Morocco and Norway respectively.
Followers of the competition got served with 8 great matches on Matchday 1. Equatorial Guinea opened the show in great fashion. They recorded a vital 1-0 victory against Libya thanks to a late goal from Balboa.
Zambia sealed the wonderful night with a 2-1 triumph over Senegal. The Chipolopolo will have the chance to step closer to qualification at the Estadio de Bata.
Libya vs Zambia will open Matchday 2 of the 2012 AFCON. Equatorial Guinea vs Senegal will provide thrills as the co-hosts would want to test their power against the Teranga Lions. If the Senegalese don’t improve from their poor form against the Zambians, Equatorial Guinea may clinch their second victory on the trot.
Ivory Coast vs Angola
With Sudan and Burkina Faso not having much to offer, this is the only match-up one can await with impatience. While Ivory Coast have proved that they can be very deadly in attack, Angola can also pride themselves with their unique way of protecting their goal line. It will be Group B’s last game, and with both countries presented with good opportunities to reach the quarter-finals, it is understandable that a draw will surely not do any good to either sides.
Favourites to qualify
Ivory Coast’s strength on paper is just too evident for anyone not to consider them as Group B favourites. With players such as CAF player of the Year Yaya Toure, Chelsea’s Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou and Arsenal playmaker Gervinho, the Ivorians will have no excuse available if ever they fail to top their table. Angola’s side is also very powerful defensively, and their sharp attack is anticipated to be the key that will unlock the door to Group B’s second place.
They are called “The Stallions” (Les Etalons in French) and they are best known for their turbulent past in the history of African football. The players of Burkina Faso’s national team presently work with manager Paulo Duarte under the control of the Fédération Burkinabé de Foot-Ball. The Stallions are among the world’s 100 best nations. They are precisely 62nd in the FIFA rankings.
The Stallions’ history – a blend of disappointments and successes
The first time they played in the Nations Cup was back in 1978. Then called the Upper Volta national team, the Stallions endured a miserable campaign in Ghana. They fell in Group A with the hosts. West African powerhouses Nigeria were also part of this section – leaving absolutely no chance for the Stallions to enjoy their first Cup of Nations competition.
Burkina Faso vs Ghana - 2010 Africa Cup of Nations Match Preview
There will actually be a lot to play for when both teams meet.
La Cote d’Ivoire qualified last week after beating Ghana 3-1 in a must win game for the Elephants.
The pressure is now on the Black Stars to get the result that will send them into the last 8 whereas Burkina Faso will try and hold on to their mathematical advantage and eventually upset the Ghanaians.
Will Ghana crash out from the group stages of the Africa Cup of Nations for the second time in their last three attempts?
This will definitely mean disaster for the nation which was the first on the African continent to reach the 2010 World Cup.
In the first match of the day, Group A’s Malawi and Algeria will lock horns before Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso open Group B – the tournament’s group of death.
Ghana and Togo will close the day with an encounter at 18:30 GMT at the Estadio Chimandela in Cabinda.
Malawi vs Algeria 2010 Africa Cup of Nations Match Preview
In the second game in Group A, Malawi will stay at the Estádio 11 de Novembro to face Algeria on January 11th 2010, at 13:45 GMT. Both sides are very much likely to be influenced by the score line of the Angola vs Mali game which would have taken place a day before.
Malawi will enter this match with a boost of confidence from their recent lucky 0-0 draw against 2010 Africa Cup of Nations favorites Ghana, but it is however probable that their concern will be slightly turned onto their scoring abilities.
Burkina Faso – the country, the football
Burkina Faso, also referred to as just Burkina, is a West African country surrounded by Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast.
The country, formally known as the Republic of Upper Volta, has a size of 274,000 km², and it is the home of over 15,757,000 people.
Burkina Faso’s national football team, Les Etalons (which means The Stallions in English), has never participated in a FIFA World Cup tournament; in the same way, their run in African football has also been very poor.