Burkina Faso. Critics F*ck Off.

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Last year, Zambia, a country with approximately 14million people won the Africa Cup of Nations. It was a huge shock.

This year, Burkina Faso has shown their passion, ability to grind out results and ridden their luck at times, but have made their way to the final none the less.

They have only conceded two goals during the competition. Whilst they are still unbeaten.

This is a country with approximately 15million people.

Yet still people associate African football with; Ivory Coast, Ghana and South Africa. Where are they?

The Burkina-babes haven’t made it past the first round in the tournament since 1998, and have never made the final.

The star of the tournament for Burkina Faso has to be Jonathan Pitroipa. Unfortunately denied a penalty in extra-time, and instead sent off. He will now miss the final. A shocking decision.

Yes, I have a vested interest as I did put a 33/1 each-way bet on the Stallions to win the tournament, which I will at least take a place prize.

But, in all honesty, I think the tournament (except for refereeing performances) has shown what a great footballing continent Africa really are.

I cannot hear the critics now!

Well done Africa!
Well done Burkina Faso.
Well done Jonathan Pitrioipa. I hope you get an appeal granted.

A refreshing taste of football.

I have watched quite little of the African Nations Cup this year, due to a combination of early kick offs and work scheduling.

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A far cry from the days of the 2010 World Cup which coincided with revision for my A-Levels. Memories of sitting at my dining room table revising about African American Civil Rights, whilst watching almost every game of the tournament.

However, I do have a vested interest in a team, quite outsiders this year, Burkina Faso. Until last week they had failed to win an AFCON match away from home soil, since 1988. They eradicated that curse with a 4-0 thrashing of Ethiopia. I have an each-way bet on them to win the competition this year, at odds of 33/1.
Therefore I have been making sure I keep upto date with match reports and looking at BBC Sport daily as soon as I finish work.

The point of my first post in this new sparkling blog is to point out the huge differences from our own English game to that of the African game.

Our supposed ‘greatest league in the world’ is consistently dogged by; accusations of diving, managers criticising referees in post-match interviews and more recently racist abuse.

However, similar to the 2010 World Cup this tournament seems more about the football, than it’s players. More about the game, than it’s makers. More about the fans, than it’s rules.

From the Roger Milla dance in Italia ’90 to 2013, African football seems to have come a long way.

Perhaps it is time that our governing body the FA look at our game, and attempt to make it once more about the football, as opposed to the people related to it.

This, some would some say, can only be allowed to happen if the media let it happen. In my opinion, this has gone too far now, and will never be reversed. Big football stories sell papers, and make money.

So, a European country that came a highly regarded 17th on the Corruption Perceptions Index 2012, could learn a metaphorical ‘footballing lesson’ from a continent, that politically is phenomenally unstable, corrupt, economically unable to compare.

Football; it’s a funny old game (cringe from use of the cliche).