Lions pit home advantage, pedigree against Stallions

The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Cup tournament kicks off on Sunday with hosts, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, taking on the Stallions of Burkina Faso at the 60,000-capacity Olembe Stadium in Yaounde.

This west African derby has some history, which is in its 10th episode, but the Lions have had the better of the confrontations.

With five AFCON titles under their belt and a vociferous home crowd, the Lions seemingly hold all the aces but the last four meetings against the Burkinabes have seen the Lions lose one and draw three with just five goals scored across the four matches.

If the Lions fail to roar convincingly in the first 15 to 20 minutes, there could be reverse pressure on the home side and a confidence boost for the Stallions.

Head-to-head

07 Feb 1998 Burkina Faso v Cameroon 0 – 1 Africa Cup of Nations

19 May 1998 Cameroon v Burkina Faso 2 – 0 International Friendly

11 Jan 2000 Burkina Faso v Cameroon 2 – 2 International Friendly

07 Jan 2002 Burkina Faso v Cameroon 1 – 3 International Friendly

06 Jun 2015 Burkina Faso v Cameroon 2 – 3 International Friendly

14 Jan 2017 Burkina Faso v Cameroon 1 – 1 Africa Cup of Nations

24 Jan 2018 Burkina Faso v Cameroon 1 – 1 African Nations Championship

27 May 2018 Cameroon v Burkina Faso 0 – 1 International Friendly

24 Jan 2021 Burkina Faso v Cameroon 0 – 0 African Nations Championship

Three duels to watch

Vincent Aboubakar v Edmond Tapsoba

Aboubakar is an 11-year Lions veteran and comes into the tournament as the captain and leading scorer. He will be up against one of Burkina Faso’s rising stars, Bayer Leverkusen’s Tapsoba, 22, who has again caught the eye with his astute defensive work in the Bundesliga.

Nouhou Tolo v Bertrand Traore

If anything good will happen for the Stallions, Traore should be the mastermind. The Aston Villa player has been hampered by injuries this season but he is fit and ready to lead his team, which means Lions’ right-back, Tolo, must be on full alert for the time the left-footed dazzler is on the pitch.

Zambo Anguissa v Cyrille Bayala

Napoli’s Anguissa can do it all from his central midfield position-defend and attack in equal measure- but he will face the sturdy defensive work of Burkina Faso’s Bayala, who will try to occupy Anguissa so much he will think of foraging forward. This should be an interesting tactical battle.

Managers’ Words

“It is for a new challenge with the Indomitable Lions. We will try to achieve our ambitions. We prepared well and now we are ready for the competition. Our opponent is not an easy team. But we have the strength and determination to make a good start.” – Antonio Conceicao – Cameroon Manager

“We are facing the hosts which is difficult. But we have the means to achieve our objectives, and to go as far as possible in this competition. We will play with a young generation of talented players. Our first objective is to get past the group stage and our ultimate target is the title.” – Sanou Firmen – Burkina Faso Assistant Manager

The match kicks off at 5 pm.

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