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Preview: Cameroon vs. Burkina Faso

Before the first ball is kicked at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, there is already controversy heading into Sunday’s opening match between hosts Cameroon and Burkina Faso. According to the latest Covid-19 tests, Burkina Faso have had five players test positive as well as multiple members of the coaching staff including manager Kamou Malo. Star central defender Edmond Tapsoba is among the players who will not be able to participate as well as fellow defenders Soumaïla Ouattara and Oula Traoré, midfielder Saïdou Simporé and forward Dango Ouattara. Burkinabe captain Bertrand Traoré labeled the situation a “scandal” in the pre-match press conference as he and the country’s football federation declared that the testing procedure was mishandled.

In response, CAF has responded to the letter of protest from the Burkinabe Football Federation by dismissing their complaints, stating that the tests were carried out by an independent laboratory and cannot be disputed. The Burkinabe federation has since carried out their own tests and found that all members tested negative, results that they will bring to the attention of CAF.

As for the match itself, this Burkina Faso team cannot be overlooked despite the circumstances and the team remains capable of earning a result on Sunday. In the absence of Tapsoba, RS Berkane center back Issoufou Dayo will take on the role of defensive leader, a role he has performed well in while Tapsoba was missing due to injury during 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying. As long as Dayo, Bertrand Traoré and goalkeeper Hervé Koffi are involved for the Stallions this team has a chance to get a result.

For the hosts, Cameroon will not be dealing with any absences or issues related to Covid-19 and appear to have a full strength squad. Key players for the match include goalkeeper André Onana, midfielder Frank Zambo-Anguissa and forward as well as captain Vincent Aboubakar. Indomitable Lions coach Toni Conceição stated that the pressure on the team is high and that they must reach the final of the competition because Cameroonian supporters “don’t forgive failure”.

News articles in English and from French-speaking media sources within the two countries are below with all the pre-match news and comments.

2021 Afcon: Predicting the Cameroon XI vs Burkina Faso (Goal)
CAN 2021 : la CAF a t-elle insultée le Burkina Faso ? (Camfoot)

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