Friday, 8 February 2013

AFCON 2013 Final SA - Nigeria v Burkina Faso

Aristide bance celebration
Aristide Bance the Burkinabe Forward celebrating 

It’s on this Sunday as the Super Eagles of Nigeria take on the Burkinabe’s. Nigeria are reaching their first final since the year 2000 whereas Burkina Faso are going to be playing in their first final, their previous best performance having been a semi-final exit when they hosted the AFCON.

Super Eagles the Giants are Becoming Confident Predators

Nigeria is confident going into the final as they have been showing an increase in performance in each game. The people of Nigeria had doubts about this team and there were questions surrounding many of their star players who were left out of the AFCON 2013 South Africa. I even doubted if the super eagles would get past the quarterfinals as they were going to face Ivory Coast who were the pre-tournament favourites and had played well during the group stages. Nigeria surprised everyone by playing well in defeating the Ivoirians who seem to always choke on the big stage (they remind me of the South African Cricket team). The team is getting support now and even those who doubted Stephen Keshi and his team are behind their team now. The AFCON seems to have united Nigerians as evidenced by the twitter comments I read following Nigeria’s victories. If Stephen Keshi’s side win the final on Sunday he will become only the second African to win the AFCON both as player and coach.

The Underdogs are Looking to Upset the Giants 

On the other hand, the Burkinabe’s are not to be taken lightly. They surprised everyone by making past the group stages, since in previous AFCON’s they had not managed to win a match on foreign land. They made it out of the group stages with the help of their top goal scorer in this AFCON Alaine Traoure who was injured in the final match of the group stages. He will not be playing in the final but will be there to support his team mates. Another key member of the Burkinabe squad Jonathon Pitroipa was sent off on Wednesday for simulation after he was tackled in the Ghanaians penalty area but after an appeal for him to play in the final as the simulation was a wrong call by the referee; he has been cleared to play in the final. It must be a relief for the Burkinabe as he is by far their best player of the tournament so far.   Things are looking up for the Burkinabe and they are growing in confidence as evident in their match against Ghana. Despite being denied a penalty, losing Pitroipa and having what looked like a legitimate goal denied they came out on top. Their Striker Aristide Bance had a good game on Wednesday with numerous shots at goal in which he converted one to equal the score against Ghana. Bance even showed confidence when he took a cheeky penalty during the penalty shootout which Burkina Faso won 3-2. This lanky striker could prove to be a menace against the Super Eagles. 


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