Burkina Faso and Senegal face each other for the third time in TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations history, but the first in a semifinal. A match between two teams that have been moving forward since the start of this edition of Africa’s flagship competition.
Two players will certainly be the attraction of this game: Bertrand Traoré on the Burkinabe side and Sadio Mané on the Senegalese front. Two captains who have already contributed to the heyday of their respective teams.
Bertrand Traoré – A gifted Stallion
Of the five matches played by Burkina Faso since the start of the tournament, the native of Bobo Dioulasso has played three. “For me, Bertrand is our technical leader and captain,” The Stallions’ coach Kamou Malo told Cafonline.com before adding: “I have 28 players in my squad, and the readiest players are lined up for each match.”
For the Burkinabe coach, Traoré remains one of the main keys even if he admits to having tactical plans without his superstar. “I have a lot of respect for him, for his experience and national team career. Bertrand plays in one of the biggest leagues in the world. He is the team leader in the locker room. I think that this player will have great semifinal and final” added the Burkinabe coach.
At 26, the Aston Villa striker is looking to go as far as possible with the Stallions, with the goal of winning their maiden AFCON title.
Sadio Mané – A leading Lion
Aged 29, Liverpool winger is playing his fourth TotalEnergies AFCON with the Teranga Lions. Sadio Mané remains one of the key elements of Aliou Cissé side.
Sadio has taken part in all five matches played by the Teranga Lions since the start of the competition, scoring two goals in the process.
His coach repeats it each time; “He’s our key player.” For Aliou Cissé, the Senegalese number 10 “remains one of the elements I can count on. He is a leader on and off the field.”
Even the adversaries admit it. “Sadio is a player who can make the difference on his own. He’s a genius,” said Juan Micha, Equatorial Guinea coach.
The 2019 CAF Player of the Year dreams of handing his country their first AFCON title on 6 February, after having narrowly missed it in June 2019 when the Teranga Lions lost the final to Algeria in Cairo.
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