Burkina Faso are dreaming of upsetting the odds once more by beating Ghana to reach the final of the African Nations Cup.
The Stallions have already come a long way to take their place in an all-west African final four in South Africa, knocking out defending champions Zambia to qualify from Group C and then beating Togo 1-0 in extra time in Sunday’s quarter-final.
Ghana’s experience should make them favourites for Wednesday’s semi-final meeting but few are now betting against a Burkina Faso side brimming with confidence.
“It’s like a never-ending story,” coach Paul Put said on Supersport, speaking in the wake of their win over Togo.
“I’m the happiest coach of this tournament now as all we worked on in training came to play.”
Burkina Faso lost leading scorer Alain Traore to a thigh injury in their final group game, ruling him out of the rest of the tournament, but found a way to win against Togo with Jonathan Pitroipa heading in the winner in the 105th minute.
Ghana found the going a little easier as they saw off another of the tournament’s surprise packages, Cape Verde, 2-0 thanks to a Mubarak Wakaso double in the second half.
Asamoah Gyan pointed to the Black Stars’ experience as the difference between the two sides.
“The first half was a bit frustrating,” he told the Ghana Football Association’s website.
“We couldn’t go through their defence. But what made the difference in our victory was the penalty. When we scored, the game became opened.
“Although in the second half they dominated, we stood firm. We have experience and we kept our composure and in the late stages, we scored our second goal.
“In tournaments, it’s about you winning and qualifying to the next stage of the competition.”
The match will be played in Nelspruit, where the Mbombela Stadium pitch has been the focus of much criticism.
But it is also where Burkina Faso have played all four of their matches, and understanding the conditions could give them a critical edge.