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At the opening of CAN-2022, Cameroon, host country, faces Burkina Faso on Sunday. At home, the Indomitable Lions are among the favorites for the title, but they should be wary of the Stallions, who are very familiar with the competition.
At home and in front of its audience, Cameroon intends to launch its African Cup with fanfare, Sunday, January 9, against Burkina Faso during the opening match organized in Yaoundé.
The Indomitable Lions are among the favorites of the competition alongside the Egyptians, Senegalese and Algerians. With its five CAN on the clock, Cameroon intends to go as far as possible and shine at home. “We have only one way: to win, to win and to win. That’s what I was put on the table when I signed my contract: to reach at least the CAN final, to do everything to win it and also qualify the team for the next World Cup, “coach Antonio Conceiçao told AFP.
“A team that works for its collective”
For this, the Portuguese technician can count on his star players, who are blazing in big European clubs, like Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting at Bayern Munich, André-Franck Zambo Anguissa in Naples, Karl Toko-Ekambi in Olympique Lyonnais or goalkeeper André Onana at Ajax Amsterdam. “There are things to improve but I consider that we have already reached a good level. We have some stars but I think that we are a team which is worth for its collective”, estimates Antonio Conceiçao.
The president of the #FECAFOOT @SamuelEtoo was present at the Indomitable Lions training session this afternoon at the annex B stadium in Olembe. The occasion for an exchange with coach Antonio Conceicao and Inter Milan’s new recruit, goalkeeper André Onana. pic.twitter.com/l7xv74fN2s
– Fecafoot-Officiel (@FecafootOfficie) January 6, 2022
Cameroonians can also benefit from the experience of legend Samuel Eto’o, recently propelled to the head of the country’s federation, as the coach emphasizes: “What he has learned over the years as a player and by attending the upper echelons of football should bring significant improvement. “
Burkinabè in ambush
Even if they appear as the ogre of Group A, the Indomitable Lions will however have to be wary of their first opponents. For the past ten years, Burkina Faso has been one of the teams that count in Africa. Surprising finalists in 2013, third in 2017, the Stallions did not participate in the 2019 edition, but they come back with great ambitions.
Coach Kamou Malo will experience his first major competition at the head of the team, but he will be able to rely on the experienced Bertrand Traoré of Aston Villa. Handicapped by repeated injuries since the start of the season, the captain will be present in Cameroon alongside his teammates.
Within the workforce, a new generation is also asserting itself like the nugget Abdoul Tapsoba from Standard de Liège (still uncertain for this first match), defender Edmond Tapsoba from Bayer Leverkusen or even the Trojan revelation of start of the season Issa Kaboré. During the qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup, the Stallions made the reigning African champions tremble, dropping two draws against the Algerians.
Even if they did not get their ticket for Qatar, the Burkinabè showed good things and hope to continue their momentum: “We are going to go there to bring the Cup home. We have a strong, talented team. . I think we have all the means to win the CAN with a victory in the first match, we will take match by match to reach the final “, announced the defender Issoufou Dayo to the Burkina 24 site.
For the opening match, the Burkinabè will however have to deal with a reduced team due to Covid-19 contamination, we learned on Saturday.
“We have four to five cases of Covid, especially executive players, we are not going to name names,” said the team’s assistant coach Firmin Sanou, specifying that he was replacing for the press conference before -match his head trainer, Kamou Malo, because it was also positive. “Two days before the match, that calls everything into question, but we have confidence in the players who will replace them,” said Firmin Sanou.
The deputy also contested the method and pointed to a vagueness in the organization of the competition, explaining that two different medical teams had come to test the Burkinabè delegation.
“Yesterday morning (Friday) a medical team showed up to our hotel for tests, when we tried to understand who had sent them, the CAF (African Football Confederation) clearly told us that it was not them who had sent them to the team, we refused to do the tests, “said the assistant coach. “A team arrived at 10 p.m., apparently that of the CAF. We carried out the tests which inform us of 4 to 5 cases of Covid. I say 4 or 5 because they say that our first player tested did not carry out the test … “, he continued, specifying that he had requested a second opinion.
Cameroon and Burkina Faso have already met three times in the final phase of the CAN. Already in 1998, they faced each other at the opening of the competition. Cameroon had won 1-0. In 2017, the Indomitable Lions and Stallions neutralized 1-1 in the group stage.
The Cameroonians will then face Ethiopia (January 13) and Cape Verde (January 17), while the Burkinabè will face Cape Verde (January 13) and Ethiopia (January 17).