Burkina Faso's seven previous attempts to reach the FIFA World Cup™ have all ended in disappointment, though the side came very close in their two most recent campaigns.On the road to South Africa 2010, Les Etalons (the Stallions) finished ahead of Tunisia in the second round and came out on top against Malawi and Guinea in their third round group, only to finish runners-up to Côte d'Ivoire after losing twice to Les Eléphants.
Four years later it was a similar tale, Burkina Faso edging out Congo, Gabon and Niger in the group stage before succumbing to Algeria at the final hurdle, winning 3-2 at home but going down 1-0 in the second leg to miss out on away goals.
Since making a concerted effort to focus on youth development, 'the land of the honest people' has enjoyed excellent results. Les Etalons have shone in youth competitions on the continental and global stage, while their run to the final of the 2013 CAF Africa Cup of Nations and their Brazil 2014 qualifying bid confirmed their progress as a burgeoning football force. Their major asset in attack is Bertrand Traore, whose brother Alain is a leading figure in midfield alongside Jonathan Pitroipa and Charles Kabore, the trio – like defender Bakary Kone – bolstered by their experience in European football.
Burkina Faso hired Portuguese coach Paulo Duarte to take charge of the national team in December 2015. Duarte, 46, was coach of the team from 2007 until 2012 before going on to coach Gabon in 2012 and 2013. He hopes to lead Les Etalons to their first ever World Cup. He replaced Gernot Rohr.
49 – Burkina Faso were just 90 minutes away from their World Cup dream in Blida, Algeria, on 19 November 2013. Holding a 3-2 lead after the opening leg, they needed just a draw against their hosts to book a ticket to Brazil – but Algeria captain Madjid Bougherra had other ideas, burying the only goal following a scramble on 49 minutes.
The former stars
Alassane Ouedraogo, Seydou Traore