(Sporting Alert) — Burkina Faso are paying no attention to being the underdogs against Nigeria and are full confidence going into the Africa Cup of Nations final on Sunday.
WatchESPN.com, ESPN3.com: Burkina Faso v Nigeria Live
Venue: FNB Stadium, Soccer City, Johannesburg
Date: Sunday 10 February
Kick-off: 1:00 ET
Coverage: Live TV coverage on Eurosport and ITV
Burkina Faso came through a very difficult Group C which had also included Nigeria and finished on top, although both sides ended with five points each.
There are not as experienced at this level of the competition as their Nigerian opponents, but head coach Paul Put, who added that many didn’t want him to take over as the coach, is paying no attention to those comments.
“There were a lot of doubters when I first arrived in [Burkina Faso’s capital] Ouagadougou to take up my post,” said Put.
“I believe many were hoping for a Mourinho-type coach. Over the years I have gained experience of working in Africa. I know what I am capable of, how to approach people, how to motivate, how to plan tactics.
“It is very important to give players confidence and a belief in what they are doing. It is also vital to remember the ordinary man in the street in Burkina Faso.
“Many are very poor and do not have much to look forward to apart from football. When their country is playing well, it makes their troubles more bearable.”
Meanwhile, the Super Eagles are keeping their fingers cross over the fitness of Chelsea forward Victor Moses and Emmanuel Emenike, who are both major doubts after sitting out training.
The fans want to see Nigeria’s best team on the pitch, which includes playing Moses and Emenike, but head coach Stephen Keshi says he will be cautious in all his selections.
“I can understand the apprehension of the public over the two players [Moses and Emenike] but we must be a little patient, because I know that the two of them want to play in the final and the medical team is working round the clock,” Keshi said.
Burkina Faso are hoping to do a Zambia like accomplishment and lift the trophy for the first time.