Saturday January 14, 2017
Burkina Faso Vs Cameroon – Stade de Angondje, Libreville @ 19hrs (10pm East African Time)
Four time African champions Cameroon and 2013 finalists Burkina Faso will be eager to start the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations with victory.
The two nations face off in a Group A clash less than two hours after the official opening game between Gabon and Guinea Bissau.
The Indomitable Lions coach Hugo Broos has underlined the importance of a brilliant start to the tournament insisting that a win will on day one gives a team 50% chance of reaching the last eight.
“It is always important to begin with a victory. When you win the first game you are 50% sure you will make it into the second round,” he told BBC Sport.
“It will be very difficult. Burkina Faso reached the final a few years ago and we must not underestimate them.”
Cameroon, whose last championship came in 2002 don’t look as frightening as the team of the previous decade but in Vicente Aboubaker and Benjamin Moukandjo, they have players who can hurt opponents.
They are however without several players including Liverpool’s Joel Matip and West Bromwich Albion defender Allan Nyom who refused to earn their call ups.
For Burkina Faso, coached by Portuguese Paul Duarte, the experience in Alain Traore, Jonathan Pitroipa and Bakery Kone among others will be instrumental.
- Cameroon have not won an AFCON match in seven years despite winning the title four times.
- The Indomitable Lions have reached the quarter finals at every Nations Cup between 1998 and 2010.
- Besides when they hosted in 1998, Burkina Faso have only won an AFCON match at the finals in South Africa 2013 when they reached the finals.
- In 10 Nations Cups, the Burkinabe have failed on eight occasions to get past the group stage.
The game looks balanced although with Cameroon slightly with an advantage due to pedigree but the Stallions have a few quality players that can hurt opponents.