Monday, 21 January 2013

Nigeria Vs Burkina Faso Today At 6pm GMT- Probable Lineups

Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit Date: Monday, 21 January Kick-off: 18:00 GMT
Coverage: Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website, TV coverage on Eurosport and ITV

                                         PROBABLE LINEUPS

Omeruo, Oboabona, Yobo, Elderson
Igiebor, Mikel, Ogude
Musa, Uche, Moses
     H.Traore, B.Kone, Koulibaly, Panandetiguiri
                Pitroipa, Rouamba, Kabore, Koffi
                A. Traore

Finally, after months, if not years of anticipation, Nigeria re-emerge at the continental high table. All that stands in the way of a triumphant return to Africa’s centrepiece occasion are the Stallions of Burkina Faso, west African neighbours unlikely to roll over for Stephen Keshi’s Super Eagles.

In recent friendly matches, against Catalunya and Cape Verde, the 'Big Boss' has shuffled his pack, attempting to find the right blend of superstars and workhorses, trying to forge a complete outfit out of the players at his disposal. John Obi Mikel will surely feature in the heart of the midfield, but will the Chelsea man be employed with a defensive or an attacking remit?

The answer to this question may determine who plays alongside him in Keshi’s 4-3-3 formation. Perhaps it will be Norway-based midfielder Fegor Ogude, or maybe Nosa Igiebor will be allowed to fulfil creative duties in the centre of the field. Nigeria winger Victor Moses is expected to make his Africa Cup of Nations debut today. The 22-year-old may possibly start alongside the Chelsea man John Obi Mikel.

Despite losing all three of their games at the last Afcon, Burkina Faso arrive at South Africa keen to demonstrate improvement from 2012 – and are more than capable of pulling off a shock. Midfielder Jonathan Pitroipa is a player with the potential to cause Nigeria trouble, and although vocal before the tournament about the difficulties within the group, the Super Eagles will need to keep close tabs on Rennes’ creative hub.

Pitroipa will likely be supporting Moumouni Dagano and Alain Traore, and the pair have more than enough natural ability to test Vincent Enyeama and the defenders charged with protecting Nigeria’s goal. Charles Kabore of Marseille, is a key player at the back for Burkina Faso, and he will need to be on top form for the Stallions to get anything from the match.

Captain Joseph Yobo is poised to equal Nwankwo Kanu's record of six Nations Cup appearances for Nigeria.
Burkina Faso have gone 17 matches without a win in the Cup of Nations.
The team failed to win a point at the tournament in 2012, but with striker Aristide Bance fit to start there is an air of optimism around the squad.
The return to fitness of his strike-partner Alain Traore, after a heel injury, is a further boost for Burkina Faso although today's game may come too soon for him.
Traore is seen as a key part of the squad, having scored a decisive stoppage-time goal to put them through at the expense of the Central African Republic.

Nigeria have had mixed results in the build-up to the tournament, drawing 1-1 with Catalonia, being held to a 0-0 draw by fellow qualifiers Cape Verde, beating Sparta Rotterdam 1-0 before easing to a 5-0 victory over Portuguese second division outfit Farense.

But having been among the dominant forces in African football a decade ago, the Group C match against Burkina Faso marks their return to the Nations Cup after missing out on the tournament a year ago.

Nigeria captain Joseph Yobo: "Winning the trophy is not going to be easy but I promise we will give it our best shot. Let us not get beyond ourselves. The focus for now is on getting past the group stages and only then should we think about quarter-finals and, hopefully, the semi-finals and final."

Nigeria winger Victor Moses: "We have prepared well and, having missed the last tournament, wish to make Nigerians proud by the end of it."

Burkina Faso striker Aristide Bance : "I believe we have learnt from past failures and have a realistic chance of getting out of the group."

Did you know?
  • Nigeria's opposition used to play as 'The Upper Volta' before the country changed their name in 1984 to Burkina Faso. 
  • The Super Eagles have finished in third-place a record six times, beating Tunisia, Cameroon, Senegal, Algeria, and Mali (twice) in the play-off matches.
  • Whilst Nigeria have become the Kings of third-place finishes at the Afcon, Burkina Faso's best effort was in 1998, on home soil, when the Stallions finished in fourth place.
  • Along with Niger, the Burkinabe struggled at Afcon 2012 - departing the tournament after the group stage, having accumulated no wins and zero points.

Via BBC &

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