09 August 2017 02:14
“Les Etalons” of Burkina Faso host Ghana’s Black Stars in a West ‘B’ Zone Total African Nations Championship (CHAN) Kenya 2018 qualifier first leg clash on Friday, 11 August 2017, at the Stade du 4 Août, in Ouagadougou.
Both teams will be seeking to qualify for the fifth edition of the tournament designed exclusively for footballers playing in their domestic leagues after missing out on the last edition in Rwanda in 2016. And with a ticket to Kenya on the table, the two teams have some scores to settle with the Burkinabes chasing their second appearance after their maiden and only participation in 2014 in South Africa.
Les Etalons will have revenge on their minds after the southern neighbours denied them a place at the final tournament of the 2011 edition held in Sudan. The first leg in Ouagadougou ended barren before the Ghanaians nicked a lone goal win in the reverse to go through 1-0 on aggregate.
Historically, matches between the two at any level have been too close to call, often ending in narrow wins.
Despite having the upperhand after edging the Burkinabes in the 2011 qualifiers, their last meeting, Les Etalons will be a hard nut to crack for the Ghanaians especially at their backyard.
Ahead of the clash, the Black Stars defeated the Hawks of Togo in Lome in a test match few weeks ago, having hosted Gambia and Benin in similar exercises. However, head coach Maxwell Konadu is losing sleep over the unavailability of some key players, who have joined the exodus bandwagon, thus making them ineligible to feature in the competition.
The Black Stars, twice losing finalists, 2009 (Cote d’Ivoire) and 2014 (South Africa), will be without West Africa Football Academy duo, goalkeeper Razak Abalora, who has joined Tanzania giants, Azam, and Red Bull Salzburg-bound Majeed Ashimeru.
“Some players are not in camp but we are concentrating on those available and the competition for places is even intense than we expected.
“As at now, it looks very difficult to pick the 18 players to make the trip to Ouagadougou, let alone pick the first eleven to start the game there and this tells you the level of competition in camp,” Konadu said.
The Ghanaians must be wary of Burkinabe striker Blaise Yameogo, whose hat-trick inspired Etoile Filante to a 3-2 victory over Union Sportive des Forces Armees in the Coupe du Faso (Burkinabe FA Cup) last Friday in Ouagadougou.
The second leg will take place on Sunday, 20 August 2017 in Kumasi with the winner qualifying for the final tournament scheduled for 12 January to 4 February 2018 in Kenya.
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West A Zone
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West B Zone
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13.08.2017 Cotonou Benin vs Nigeria
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