Burkina Faso will meet Tunisia in their 2017 African Nations Cup quarter-final in Libreville on Saturday with renewed hope that they can spring a surprise at this year’s tournament.
The Burkinabe were surprise finalists four years ago in South Africa and topped a difficult Group A this time around as they edged out Cameroon and sent hosts Gabon tumbling from the competition.
Tunisia got the better of the more fancied Algeria to book a knockout place as they seek a first semi-final place since they won the tournament on home soil in 2004.
Burkina Faso are unbeaten in competitive action against their rivals with a win and two draws, but that history will count for nothing against an inform Tunisian side.
"Burkina Faso and Tunisia deserve their qualification for the next stage and we hope to be able to make it to the semifinals," Tunisia coach Henryk Kasperczak.
He has promised more of the same attacking style that Tunisia have shown in the competition so far. Even in their opening 2-0 defeat to Senegal, they were arguably the better side.
The team is certainly building some momentum and were particularly ruthless in their first half against Zimbabwe last time out when they went into the break leading 4-1.
"We need the team to plays its normal game and for the players to enjoy themselves,” Kasperczak said. “The key to the match is to prevent our opponents from having too much time on the ball because they have very fast and very technical players who combine well.
“It is also true that they have weaknesses that we know, but what is certain is that both teams will believe they can win and that the game will be a physical one."
Burkina Faso coach Paulo Duarte has bemoaned injuries to his squad that has meant for the last few months they have been unable to field their strongest teams.
They have already lost key duo Jonathan Zongo and Jonathan Pitroïpa for the remainder of the tournament and Duarte will hope there are no more knocks.
“Each match we have had to do without at least one player because of injury,” Duarte said. “This prevents us from having continuity. Despite this, we will give our all.
“I know Tunisia and its strengths and weaknesses. Among the players, I know [Rami] Jeridi, who is an excellent goalkeeper even if he is the number two behind [Aymen] Mathlouthi. Both Tunisian keepers are very strong in one-against-one situations."
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