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Dango Outtara boots the ball towards goal
Burkina Faso's forward Dango Ouattara (right) scored the only goal to take his team to victory against TunisiaImage: DANIEL BELOUMOU OLOMO/AFP
SportsBurkina Faso

Burkina Faso AFCON win offers respite from coup

Abu-Bakarr Jalloh AFP, AP
January 31, 2022

Thousands of football fans in Burkina Faso have celebrated their team's win over Tunisia to advance to the semifinals. The victory offers "a little love of life," allowing the country to briefly forget its concerns.

https://p.dw.com/p/46KFX

Jubilant crowds paraded through Burkina Faso's capital, Ouagadougou, blowing into vuvuzelas after the Burkinabe Stallions edged out Tunisia in a 1-0 victory on Saturday to advance to the semifinals of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

Many see Burkina Faso's upset win against Tunisia as offering respite and lightening the mood a week after a military coup ousted democratically elected President Roch Marc Christian Kabore.

The junta has blamed President Kabore for failing to deal effectively with a violent Islamic insurgency.

A fan painted in national flag colors
Fans reportedly broke a curfew order to celebrate the win that catapulted them into the semifinalsImage: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP

The only goal of the game was provided by Dango Ouattara before half time.

'Emotional win'

Stallions coach Kamou Malo told reporters that he was "very emotional" and would "dedicate this win to our people who are being tested by current events."

"The Burkinabe people will always stand up, just like the team. We put in the time today and we want to go all the way in this competition," said Malo.

"I am a novice. It's my first Africa Cup of Nations and I find myself in the semifinals. And I am very happy, but this happiness I don't live it alone because this is a group."

Burkina Faso will face West African football giant Senegal in the first semifinal game on February 2.

The Stallions have never won the continental title, but managed to reach the final in 2013.

Ahead of the match on Saturday, the team received a phone call from the new military leader, Lieutenant Colonel Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba, who offered his support and "encouragement," Malo said.

Damiba: 'The main priority remains security'

Fan support

Midfielder Adama Guira told the AFP news agency that despite the situation in his country, people were following the team and had faith in the players.

"It lifts our spirits," AFP quoted Guira as saying.

Burkina Faso soccer fan Zakaria Bouda also believes the Stallions' win will for allow for some "reconciliation" in his country.

In the capital, the party continued all night despite a midnight curfew imposed by the military junta.

"Tonight there's no curfew," said Burkinabe Stallions fan Arsene Kabore. "Even the soldiers are celebrating."

"After everything we've been through, football is allowing us to get back a little love of life," Kabore told AFP.

Military takeover in Burkina Faso

Edited by: Kate Hairsine

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