Burkina Faso v Tunisia: History not preoccupying Kasperczak
Henryk Kasperczak will not be preoccupied with the past when Tunisia face Burkina Faso in the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals in Libreville on Saturday.
Kasperczak was at the helm when Tunisia were eliminated 8-7 on penalties at the same stage by Burkina Faso in 1998, before his first spell in charge was brought to an end at the World Cup later that year.
After clinching progression from Group B with a 4-2 victory over Zimbabwe, the Pole knows defensive improvement is required if his side are to fair better than they did 19 years ago.
Kasperczak said: "I don't like to live in the past. I remember that period with nostalgia, but this is a new generation, and it's a new story.
"I have confidence this team can go far. Burkina do not concede a lot of goals, they play quick, technical football.
"We have more defensive problems than them. We have rectifications to make, we have worked on this a lot and tried to be more organised."
Burkina Faso drew their opening two fixtures but topped Group A with a 2-0 victory over competition debutants Guinea-Bissau.
Despite the losses of Jonathan Zongo and Jonathan Pitroipa to tournament-ending injuries, coach Paulo Duarte is confident they have enough variation in attack to make them a real threat.
Duarte said: "[Aristide] Bance is more static. [Prejuce] Nakoulma and Bertrand Traore are more mobile and Banou [Diawara] can do both. We have all of those options.
"I won't tell you who will play, even the players don't know. But this is a tactic to confuse our opponent.
"Just because we finished first doesn't mean we're the favourites – there aren't any. Our chances are 50-50."
"Un seul objectif" La Victoire ! pic.twitter.com/6qnJKQBrwp
— Aymen Abdennour (@aymen_abdennour) January 24, 2017
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Burkina Faso – Bertrand Traore
Chelsea forward Traore, out on loan at Ajax this season, produced his finest display of the competition against Guinea-Bissau.
The 21-year-old produced a composed finish to secure the win, proving dangerous with six shots on goal and a passing accuracy of over 95 per cent before being substituted in the 78th minute.
Tunisia – Youssef Msakni
After initiating and finishing a neat move for first goal in Gabon during the 4-2 victory over Zimbabwe last time out, Msakni's importance to the entire attack was not lost on Kasperczak.
He said: "We're counting so much on Msakni. He's mobile, technical, efficient. He can hurt the opponent and is a key player in our system."
KEY OPTA STATS
- Burkina Faso are unbeaten in their last three meetings with Tunisia (W1 D2) although the overall record stands at one victory apiece and three drawn fixtures.
- Tunisia have failed to progress from their last four knockout matches in the AFCON; losing three and going out on penalties in 2006 against Nigeria.
- Tunisia have managed to record just one clean sheet in their last 15 AFCON matches.
- Burkina Faso are making their third appearance in a quarter-final final in the African Cup of Nations; the Stallions progressed to the next round in both of the previous matches at this stage of the tournament (via penalties in 1998 and after extra time in 2013).