July 5, 2022

AFCON 2021: A coup d’etat back home couldn’t destruct Burkina Faso

By Brian Aheebwa
Burkina Faso players celebrate their win over Tunisia in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations semifinals | CAF Image

Despite a coup d’etat in Burkina Faso a week ago, the national football team stood strong and reached the semifinals of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

For starters, as the Stallions overcame Gabon 7-6 on penalties following a one-all draw after extra time in the round of 16, back home President Roch Marc Kabore was being ousted from power.

According to Reuters, the take over of Kabore who had spent six years in power was done without violence by Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Damiba of the Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration (MPSR).

Amidst all the above, Kamou Malo’s charges were bold enough to edge Tunisia 1-0 courtesy of youngster Dango Ouattara’s first half goal at Stade Omnisport Roumde Adjia Stadium on Saturday to reach the last four.

“You know the country is going through a difficult time even if the situation appears to be a bit more stable,” Malo said after the game.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to pay homage to the people who despite everything stayed strong. I’d like to believe our team is the mirror image of those people, we will stay strong in spite of everything,” he added.

Given Burkina Faso’s brilliant run at the tournament so far, it really doesn’t matter who’s in power, it’s everyone’s responsibility to wish the team well. And it’s exactly what the new leadership did prior to the game against Tunisia.

“We’re going to try to keep making our people happy. We’re in the semifinals and it is a huge bonus. We’ve given a good account of ourselves and I believe we have the means to go further,” Malo noted.

It was the third time that the West Africans were meeting and eliminating the Eagles of Carthage at the quarterfinals stage, having done so even in 1998 and 2017.

Burkina Faso have reached the semifinals now three times in the last five tournaments, however, they are yet to win the trophy with their best performance being the 2013 final when they lost 1-0 to Nigeria.

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