The 26-year-old Burkina Faso midfielder, who was suspended for Sunday?s final against The Super Eagles, has had his ban expunged by CAF.
Pitroipa was sent off in 117th minute for a second bookable offence in Burkina Faso’s dramatic 3-2 post-match penalty semifinal win over Ghana, that saw The Stallions reach their debut Africa Nations Cup final in nine attempts.
It is not very often at the Africa Cup that a sending off evokes such a massive backlash as did Pitroipia’s dismissal, after referee Slim Jdidi of Tunisia sent him off despite a clear penalty in his favour.
The decision sent Burkina Faso and their coach Paul Put reeling. At that point they were without two of their star players after striker Alain Traore had pulled out of the tournament due to injury.
“He is a very important player for Burkina Faso and I think and hope CAF will look at the video and revised this decision,” Put said at the end of that game.
Back in Burkina Faso, the result resonated with a mixture of joy and pain.
In the Central Eastern city of Tenodogo a 47-year-old man Drissa Diao reportedly collapsed and died in front the TV after Pitroipa was sent off.
Just 48 hours later, CAF rescinded the decision and indefinitely suspended Jdidi who admitted that he made a poor judgment call.
“The entire team and country is very, very happy with CAF’s decision,” Burkina Faso’s media officer Gabriel Nacoulma Barrois said after the verdict.
Pitroipa’s return also puts him as an emotional front runner for the 2013 Africa Player of the Year.
The striker from French club Stade Rennes had lurked in the shadows of Traore during the group stages in what eventually turned out to be his most successful tournament since making his debut in Angola in 2010.
However, Pitroipa showed signs of things to come in Burkina Faso’s penultimate Group C game against Ethiopia that The Stallions won 4-0.
Pitroipa set up Traore for his second goal on the day and was instrumental in the third scored by captain Charles Kabore, before finding the target himself in stoppage time.
He capped his man-of-the-match performance with a spectacular finish with the fourth goal deep into injury time to see Burkina Faso win 4-0.
Pitroipa looked subdued against Zambia in the scoreless draw probably trying to adjust after Traore was taken off just seven minutes into the game with an injury that would eventually rule him out of the entire tournament.
However, Pitroipa turned on the style in the quarterfinals against an Emmanuel Adebayor-inspired Togo to score an extra-time goal that would eventually seal Burkina Faso?s semifinal spot.
And so on Sunday, Africa braces for another intriguing final as Pitroipa tries to steal the show for all the right reasons as Burkina Faso aim to continue where Zambia left off in pursuit of another underdog triump