Burkina Faso’s Traore brothers can star at Africa Cup of Nations
Burkina Faso may be seen as footballing minnows, but Coral price them as 13/8 favourites to win arguably the easiest group at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Equatorial Guinea.
The Stallions were runners-up at the last edition of this competition in South Africa, despite arriving as no-hopers, and they still have a number of players from that squad in 2013 to call upon, as well as Belgian boss Paul Put.
Former Rennes and Hamburg winger Jonathan Pitroipa, now of Al Jazira Club, was the star of the last AFCON, being named the Player of the Tournament, and was top scorer in qualifying for this edition. He is a 25/1 chance with Coral to get the most goals in Equatorial Guinea.
Pitroipa will be ably assisted by Traore brothers Bertrand (on loan from Chelsea to Vitesse) and Alain (Lorient), who is 16/1 to be top scorer. The former, who is now 19, missed out on Burkina Faso’s final squad in 2013, so he will be raring to go this time. He did take part in the 2012 finals, though.
Older brother Alain was also cruelly denied playing in the latter phase of the tournament in South Africa, after suffering injury in the group stage.
The Stallions’ pool this time consists of hosts Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Congo, and they are expected to finish in the top two, which would see them reach the quarters. They are sixth-favourites to win the competition this time.
Burkina Faso had to face Gabon in qualifying, but to them away and draw at home. The two western-sided African nations duel first, and the Stallions go into it as slight 17/10 favourites for victory. A draw is priced at 19/10, meanwhile.
Other players to look out for in this side include current captain and ex-Marseille man Charles Kabore, former Charlton Athletic defensive midfielder Florent Rouamba and Lyon centre back Bakary Kone. Almeria youngster Jonathan Zongo, meanwhile, could impress.
The West Africa nation will be without experienced goalie Daouda Diakite, though, who misses out through injury.
This will be Burkina Faso’s 10th Africa Cup of Nations tournament, and only twice have they progressed past the group stages. They also finished fourth in 1998 on home soil, so back them either to flop in the pool or go far once again.