Burkina Faso Returns To Face World Cup Reality

Burkina Faso Returns To Face World Cup Reality

SOWETO (AFP) – Africa Cup of Nations runners-up Burkina Faso return home Monday after an amazing campaign to face the reality that their chances of playing at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil are remote.

Burkina Faso Returns To Face World Cup Reality

The Stallions made a poor start to Group E, drawing 0-0 at home to Congo Brazzaville and losing 1-0 away to Gabon, and the lone point they collected disappeared after FIFA ruled that they fielded an ineligible player.

Cameroon-born full-back Herve Zengue did not meet eligibility requirements, accoring to the world governing body, and a goalless turned into a 3-0 defeat for the Burkinabe.

With two of the six rounds played, the Stallions anchor the table with no points and a minus-four goal difference, while Congo have six points and Niger and Gabon three each.

Burkina Faso face Niger (home/away) during March and June, Congo (away) also in June and Gabon (home) in September and could need an unlikely maximum 12 points to top the winner-takes-all group.

But even that miraculous recovery would not guarantee Belgian coach Paul Put and his stars a ticket to Brazil as the 10 group winners will be paired and the victors of five home-and-away ties qualify for the tournament.

New Cup of Nations champions Nigeria are much better placed as they seek a return to the World Cup having made a disappointing 2010 exit in South Africa after losses to Argentina and Greece and draw with South Korea.

They started Group F last June with a narrow home win over Namibia followed a week later with a precious draw away to Malawi and appear likely winners of a mini-league completed by under-achieving Kenya.

However, difficult tasks loom for Mali and Ghana — who finished third and fourth respectively at the Cup of Nations — if they are to survive the first round.

The Malian Eagles are third in Group H, level on points with Algeria and one behind Benin, in a pool that looks like it could go to the wire with the three countries having realistic hopes of progressing.

Ghana are in a tough pool and after slamming seven goals past hapless Lesotho at home they lost by a solitary goal away to shock 2012 Cup of Nations champions Zambia.

Sudan, who defeated Zambia in Khartoum, top Group D with four points and Ghana and Zambia have three each, but a series of boardroom decisions could have a vital bearing on the final standings.

FIFA ruled that Sudan used an ineligible player against Zambia and changed a 2-0 victory into a 3-0 defeat, but the east Africans have appealed to the Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Ivory Coast, who failed for a fifth consecutive Africa Cup of Nations tournament to justify the tag of title favourites, top Group C thanks to a home victory over Tanzania and an away draw against Morocco in a section completed by modest Gambia.

Source: Naij.com

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