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Angola/Burkina Faso: Antelopes, Stallions in Crucial Face-Off


Mark Gleeson

21 January 2012

Angola and Burkina Faso meet in their opening Group B tie at the African Nations Cup knowing the result could well determine the destiny of the rest of their tournament.

The outcome of the game is likely to decide second place in the standings behind Cote d’Ivoire, who are tipped to romp to first place, and ahead of Sudan, who are not given much chance of contending.

It is the first time that Angola and Burkina Faso go head-to-head but they did both play at the last finals, where hosts Angola went out in the last eight and Burkina Faso did not get out of the groups.

“We hope to do better than last time and in view of the sides in the group, winning this match is our first objective,” said Angolan striker Djalma Campos.

He described his side as well prepared after several weeks of training in Cabinda and a brief trip to Nigeria for a friendly international last week.

The Burkinabe, who had to wait for a court appeal to be heard in Switzerland at the start of the month before confirming their presence in the 16-team tournament line-up, are now sweating on the fitness of striker Alain Traore, struggling with injury in the build-up to the game.

If he does not pass a late fitness test, it is likely veteran Moumouni Dagano will be called upon to lead the attack alongside Aristide Bance.

“We are going all out for the three points because our continued presence in this tournament depends on it,” Bance said

Burkina Faso captain Mahamadou Kere is out of the game as he serves a one match suspension for an accumulation of yellow cards during the qualifiers.

With Kere out of the midfield, coach Paulo Duarte is likely to use an axis across the middle of Florent Rouamba, Djakaridia Kone and the highly-rated Charles Kabore.

“We expect a tough game against a strong Angola steam,” Duarte told reporters in Malabo after his side’s last training session.

“This is our first match of the competition and one in which we are obliged to get a result. But we also face a team who have the same objective,” he warned.

There will be much interest in the 16-year-old Bertrand Traore, who hails from the academy of English club Chelsea. If he comes on, likely off the bench, he will be the third youngest player to appear at a Nations Cup tournament.

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