AFCON 2017: Burkina Faso coach trusts squad ahead of Egypt showdown
Burkina Faso squad
"I have more talent. Leading players are in their late 20s. They are between 27 and 29 years, in their best age. As a result we play better and it makes it easier to integrate new, younger players," he told FIFA's website on Tuesday.
Duarte, who has created a strong team that depends on both experienced players and talented youngsters, inspired Burkina Faso to lead their group with 1-1 draws against Cameroon and Gabon and a 2-0 win over Guinea Bissau, before a surprising 2-0 victory over Tunisia in Libreville Saturday in the quarterfinals.
“Even though we twice managed to qualify for the finals (2010 and 2012), the team had no experience," said Duarte.
"The only ambition then, was to qualify, because when I arrived, Burkina Faso had not played at the finals for six years.
“When I came back, it was a very different story, although there were some problems. I tried to fix them, but I had to go slowly,” Duarte added.
Half of the Stallions' squad are playing their first finals, while the Portuguese coach has led the team during the 2010 and 2012 tournaments.
The Pharaohs clash will not be easy, as the seven-time champions are hungry for trophies after being absent from the tournament for the last three rounds.
One day after the Burkina Faso- Egypt game, Cameroon and Ghana will compete in the second semifinal in the southeastern city of Franceville.