djakaridja

Djakaridja Kone talks AFCON with AFS

Burkina Faso midfield general Djakaridja Kone spoke to Africa Football Shop editor Ed Dove following the Stallions’ opening Cup of Nations defeat to Gabon in Bata.

Paul Put’s side started the match well, but were undone by a composed, powerful finish from Panthers talisman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Chelsea’s Bertrand Traore had two chances to draw Burkina Faso level, but Malick Evouna scored Gabon’s second in the 72nd minute after excellent work by Frederic Bulot.

“We’re disappointed with the defeat,” began Djakaridja Kone, speaking exclusively to AFS after the match, “we’re disappointed because we played well, which makes it worse.

“We had chances to score, but couldn’t find the net.”

The Evian midfielder clarified, however, that the Stallions were unbowed by their disappointing start to the 2015 tournament; “we had a meeting this morning and tried to work through the problems,” he disclosed, “we are going to give everything we have to qualify for the quarter-finals.”

Kone, who is playing at his third Cup of Nations tournament, was also keen to point out that Burkina Faso’s on-field struggles must be considered separately from their well-documented accommodation issues.

Stallions coach Paul Put likened the team’s hotel to ‘a campsite’ and has complained about CAF’s organisation of the competition: “Time was too short to organise a tournament like this,” he said, as reported by BBC Sport.

Kone too acknowledged that there were issues with accommodation, but refused to blame them for the Stallions’ opening-day loss.

“It’s true we’re not accommodated well,” he admitted, “but the defeat has nothing to do with that.

“That was settled on the pitch.”

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Despite the loss, the Cote d’Ivoire-born star is happy to have returned to the continental high table. “It’s great to be back,” he continued, “this is the major competition in Africa and we’re happy to be here.”

He remains confident that despite Burkina Faso’s muted opening, they can still progress from Group A. “Yes, yes, yes,” he confirmed, emphatically, “frankly, we still have two matches to play.

“We’re confident. It’s in out own hands and it’s down to us.”

The Stallions are set to meet Equatorial Guinea in their next fixture on Wednesday, before heading to Ebebiyin for the group decider on Sunday. The Red Devils and the hosts played out a 1-1 draw in the tournament opener, and Kone has admitted that while he hasn’t managed to watch a replay of the match, he is aware of his opponents’ qualities.

“I caught the highlights,” he began, “and Equatorial Guinea impressed me, they were particularly strong in offensive areas.”

The Stallions certainly have the quality to secure the required results to progress to the second round, but after their lacklustre start against Gabon, they cannot countenance any more slip ups.

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