Burkina Faso to shock ‘individualistic’ Eagles

Nigeria football assoc

Burkina Faso coach Paul Put said he hopes to upstage Nigeria in Monday’s Group C match in Nelpsruit to get off on a winning start.

Nigeria are yet to lose to the Stallions in six meetings.

The Eagles have won four and drawn two of these matches, while both sides have clashed only once at the AFCON in 1978, when Burkina Faso were known as Upper Volta with Nigeria running away 4-2 winners.

Burkina Faso coach Put said his team will gun for a winning start against a Nigerian team known to have individual talent who have struggled to play as a team.

“We need to win our first game at all costs to give us the confidence we need,” said Belgian coach Put, who has also handled The Gambia.

“Nigeria have players playing in major championships such as in England and Italy, but having individually talented players does not necessarily mean they have a great team.”

Nigeria will still be favourites to win this game but both Eagles players Efe Ambrose and Ahmed Musa told MTNFootball.com they will not take Burkina Faso lightly because they wish to begin their campaign also on a winning note.

“We are going for victory in our first game against Burkina Faso. It is very important to win it because it will put us on good footing,” said Musa, one of 17 players who are making their AFCON debut in South Africa

“We won’t underrate Burkina Faso. It is victory we planned for and we are going to give our best in the game and the others that will follow,” added Celtic of Glasgow defender Ambrose.

Injured goalkeeper Austin Ejide and defender Azubuike Egwuekwe, one of the major discoveries of coach Stephen Keshi from the Nigeria Premier League, will miss Monday’s showdown.

Egwuekwe, who has lost his first-team place to Godfrey Oboabona in the heart of the Eagles back four, has been down with fever.

Burkina Faso, on the other hand, will be without star striker Alain Traore, whose stoppage time goal denied Central African Republic a place at this tournament, as well as the experienced Charles Kabore.

Lorient striker Traore, 24, has been nursing a heel injury, while Olympique Marseille midfielder Kabore will serve out a suspension.