The beaten finalists of 2013 lost their opening match against Gabon but the Al Jazira star still believes they can triumph in the tournament
Jonathan Pitroipa has backed Burkina Faso to reach the Africa Cup of Nations final ahead of Wednesday’s clash with Equatorial Guinea in Bata.
The Al Jazira man was named Player of the Tournament at the African showpiece two years ago as Burkina Faso lost to Nigeria in the final.
It was the best Burkinabe showing at the competition but their hopes of replicating or bettering that achievement were dented by Saturday’s 2-0 loss to Gabon in their opening Group A encounter.
Goals for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Malick Evouna did for Paul Put’s men, but Pitroipa feels confident that he and his team-mates can hit back and show why they are among the favourites for the competition.
“We can make it to the final again. Don’t start writing us off because we lost our first game,” Pitroipa told Goal.
“At the 2010 World Cup, Spain lost their opener, but they went on to win the trophy.
“I don’t think the pressure of being one of the favourites held us back [against Gabon]. We simply lacked inspiration, a certain fire and a bit of luck.”
Unlike Burkina Faso, hosts Equatorial Guinea are up and running thanks to their 1-1 draw with Congo at the Estadio de Bata in the opening game of the tournament on Saturday.
Esteban Becker’s men were on course to make a winning start to the competition until Thievy Bifouma denied them victory with an equaliser three minutes from time.
Regardless, the point will likely serve as a stepping stone for Becker – who was only appointed as coach earlier this month.
The nation were not initially due to host the tournament and are only doing so following a disagreement between original hosts Morocco and the Confederation of African Football surrounding the Ebola virus.
Becker suggested after Saturday’s draw that the rushed preparations had damaged his side’s chances, telling reporters: “I had 15 days to prepare with them and there are also a lot of new, young players.
“It was difficult to plan, to try and peak all the preparations. We didn’t have time to work on the physical side.”
Gabon face Congo later on Wednesday, with a victory for Equatorial Guinea potentially enough to put them top going into the final round of group matches.