Their nickname is Les Étalons, (The Stallions). And a Stallion is an uncastrated adult male horse. Then by reaching the semi finals of Africa Cup of Nations, they have morphed into a dark horse.
And a dark horse, go back to your dictionary is “a candidate or competitor about whom little is known but who unexpectedly wins or succeeds.”
That is Burkina Faso for you. They are loving every bit of it here in Nelspruit.
Goalkeeper Abdoulaye Soulama told FeverPitch minutes after their 1-0 victory at Mbombela Stadium that: “Nobody talked about us when we arrived here. We preferred it that way. Unfortunately as you progress people now notice what you are up to,” Soulama said before firing a warning to Ghana.
“This far, we are not scared of anybody and least of all Ghana. I have been playing for Asante Kotoko for almost ten years now. I know them in and out. Their thinking, their culture and everything. So bring them on,” said Soulama the only surviving member of the Burkina Faso team that reached semifinal when they hosted the tournament in 1998. He was the youngest player then at 17 years.
Lost His Dad
Soulama lost his dad in a road accident back in his homeland on the day he was sent off for handling the ball outside the box against Ethiopia.
The 33-year-old elected to stay with the team saying his father had already been buried according to Islamic practice.
Although he did not feature against Togo on Sunday, Soulama insists they are all playing for each other for it does no matter who starts.
Burkina Faso was called Republic of Upper Volta until 1984 when slain then-President Captain Thomas Sankara changed it using a word from each of the country’s two major native languages, Moore and Dioula.
According to Wikipedia.com, “Burkina” may be figuratively translated as “men of integrity, while “Faso” means “fatherland” in Dioula.
“Burkino Faso” is thus meant to be understood as “Land of upright people” or “Land of honest people”.
It could thus be that humility and integrity with which the Stallions have conducted themselves at the finals that has endeared them to the media.
Coach Paul Put said of the niggly question of the bad Mbombela pitch: “It may not be the best of pitches, but it is our home now. We have to adapt our game to the pitch and so far so good. I don’t have the crystal ball to see what the future holds, but what I know is that anything is possible in football,” the Belgian coach said.