Team Profile: Burkina Faso

Nickname: The Stallions
Association formed: 1960
Previous Afcon Appearances: 10 (1978, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015)
Best result: Runners-up (2013)
Coach: Paulo Duarte
Leading scorers: all-time –Moumouni Dagano (31)
Most appearances: all-time –Charles Kaboré (70)
FIFA ranking: 50th (7th in CAF)

THE BIG QUESTION
They have never won the African Cup of Nations coming very close only in 2013 when they lost narrowly to Nigeria. Their star men Jonathan Pitroipa and Charles Kabore will be hoping to win the title for the first time, but can they achieve that height?

WHO ARE THEY?
The Burkina Faso national football team represents Burkina Faso in international association football and has done so since 1960s. They were known as the Upper Volta national football team until 1984, when Upper Volta became Burkina Faso. They finished fourth in the 1998 Africa Cup of Nations, when they hosted the tournament. Their best ever finish in the tournament was the 2013 edition, reaching the final.

TOP THREE PLAYERS
Bertrand Traore: Already a two-tournament Nations Cup veteran at the age of 21, Traore is the present and future of Burkina Faso. On the books of Chelsea, Traore looked like he was all set to continue his Stamford Bridge progress after four goals in five games, but it was not enough and he was loaned out to Ajax where he has scored four goals in 13 appearances.

Jonathan Pitriopa: At 30, and after a long international career, Pitriopa has become the mainstay of the Burkinabes team. Voted best player at the 2013 edition when Burkina Faso finished as runners-up, the talented wing-wizard will cherish another, perhaps final opportunity to showcase his talent on a platform where he has almost always shone.

Bakary Kone: The dreadlocked defender is as cool as ice when defending under pressure. He has good pace and stamina despite his deceptive slight frame. Kone will bring his experience to bear and it will certainly be a herculean task for the forwards to get past him.

HOW THEY QUALIFIED
Pooled with Uganda, Comoros and Botswana, the group was always going to be a straight fight between the Stallions and the Cranes. And so it turned out. Both teams ran neck and neck from the opening day until the final day, and both finished on 13 points, with the Burkinabes winning the group only by virtue of a superior head-to-head record.

FULL 23-MAN SQUAD AFCON

GOALKEEPERS: Germain Sanou (Beauvais/France), Koffi Kouakou (Asec d’Abidjan/Côte d’Ivoire) and Aboubacar Sawadogo (RCK/Burkina Faso)

DEFENDERS: Bakary Koné (Malaga/Spain), Ernest Congo (IZK Khemisset/Morocco), Issouf Paro (Santos/South Africa), Patrick Malo (Smouha/Egypt), Issoufou Dayo (Racing Club Berkane/Morocco), Yacouba Coulibaly (RCB/Burkina Faso) and Steeve Yago (Toulouse FC/France)

MIDFIELDERS: Bakary Saré dit Bouba (Moreinrense/Portugal), Abdou Razack Traoré (Karabukspor/Turkey), Blati Touré (Omonia Nicosia/ Cyprus), Adama Guira (RC Lens/France), Charles Kaboré (Krasnodar/Russia), Alain Traoré (Kayserispor/Turkey) and Cyrille Bayala (Sheriff Tiraspol/Moldovia).

FORWARDS: Jonathan Pitroipa (Al Nasr/UAE), Prejuce Nakoulma (Kayserispor/Turkey), Aristide Bancé (ASEC d’Abidjan/Côte d’Ivoire), Jonathan Zongo (Almeria/France), Bertrand Traoré (Ajax d’Amsterdam/Holland), Banou Diawara (Smouha Club/ Egypt) and Issoumaila Lingani (Happoel Ashleon/Israël).

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