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AFCON: Tapsoba anticipates tough challenge for team


By Oliver Trust

Burkina Faso defender Edmond Tapsoba said his team will face a harsh challenge while taking on Mauretania, Algeria and Angola in group D of the upcoming 2024 CAF Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire.

“There is no so-called small country in Africa anymore. All nations have gained ground over the recent years,” the Leverkusen defender stated ahead of his home country’s tournament opener against Mauretania on January 16th.

Burkina Faso finished fourth, the country’s best result in history, in the 2022 competition. But this time around, the most important goal for Tapsoba’s team is to survive the group.

Title-holder Senegal, record champion Egypt, World Cup semifinalist Morocco, Nigeria, Ghana and Algeria are regarded as this year’s favorites while Burkina Faso is an outsider.

In a recent interview, Tapsoba outlined the importance of the Africa Cup for his team’s supporters.

“It means a lot to everybody. When we play The Africa Cup it is something special for us,” said the 24-year-old.

Tapsoba said the draw is tough as “we know about the strength of Algeria after we played them in the World Cup qualifiers.”

As for Angola and Mauretania, he is expecting tight games as “we played Mauretania recently and achieved a draw, which shows us what they are capable of.”

Despite his fairly young age, Tapsoba is one of the experienced players in his national team.

“Yeah, I am one of the older ones having harvested some experience. We have a new generation of players emerging and making their way up,” he said.

The defender is feeling comfortable in Leverkusen and is benefitting from the vast experience of Bayer coach Xabi Alonso.

“I am sure I can pass on some advice from our coach Xabi Alonso to my national team colleagues. And I am sure it will help as he is one of the best coaches in football,” Tapsoba added.

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