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Sports Features of Sunday, 3 February 2013

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Burkina Faso: Player Profile

THE CAPTAIN | MOUMOUNI DAGANO

Moumouni Dagano joined the national team in 1999 while playing for local side Etoile Filante. His consistency in goalscoring and loyalty to coaches quickly earned him an enviable status within the set-up. After plying his trade in Belgium for a couple of years at Germinal Beerschot and Gent, he moved to France in search of greener pastures, landing at Guingamp before moving on to Sochaux. Despite his deftness in the air, passing skills and good positional sense, the 31-year-old striker struggled to make an impact in Europe and thus failed to catch the attention of bigger clubs, prompting his exit to the Gulf, where he has essentially settled in Qatar. He remains Burkina Faso’s all time top scorer with 31 goals and combined with his leadership qualities, Dagano is expected to deliver once more for his side at South Africa 2013.

THE STAR PLAYER | ALAIN TRAORE

Alain Traore is known for his pace and elusive dribbling style. Although his work rate is yet to be at its best, the 22-year-old striker made himself a central figure at his former French club Auxerre, where he played seven seasons from 2005 and stayed high in the league’s scorers list for months, before joining Lorient in July 2012.

He appears to be an indispensable forward to every new coach that takes over the Burkina Faso outfit, due to his penchant for goals and ability to set up other players, while regularly holding up the ball. Traore’s brace against the Central African Republic helped his side to scramble a late winner that earned their ticket to the forthcoming event in South Africa.

THE STAR PLAYER | Jonathan Pitroipa

The 26-year-old winger is known for his attacking runs and his eye for goal, and his creativity is vital for the Stallions going forward.

He is also an experienced campaigner having made his debut for the national team in 2006, and has appeared at the Africa Cup of Nations on two occasions, in 2010 and 2012.

Pitroipa started his career with Planete Champion in Burkina Faso before joining Bundesliga side SC Freiburg in 2004.

He became a regular for the side and scored crucial goals before joining Hamburger SV on a free transfer in 2008.

He left the Bundesliga in July 2011 as he signed for French side Stade Rennais, and continues to star for the Ligue1 side.

THE EMERGING TALENT | BETRAND TRAORE

Bertrand Traore’s performance at the 2009 Under-17 World Cup and 2011 African U17 Championship showed he had a bright future. The 17-year-old midfielder was at Auxerre alongside his older brother Alain Traore, honing his skills in the club’s youth team.

His 2010 trial at Chelsea Academy proved unsuccessful although spreading wide rumours across his homeland that he had already signed for the London club. Although he is yet to sign a professional contract, Traore’s good passing skills and close control have earned him invitation to the Stallions fold, joining the 2012 Afcon squad and becoming one of the youngest players at the tournament. While he is being nourished with confidence and exposure for now, Traore is likely to be among those to hold the future of Burkina Faso football.

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