African Sports TV: Would your two-goal loss to Gabon in your opening match wear away the high hopes people had on your team as defending runners-up?
Charles Kabore: Not really. We the players are conscious of the fact that the result was shocking to our supporters and the entire nation. However, they should understand that the competition has just begun. There are two other group games to negotiate and we could progress if they turn our way.
CK: I think we had a bad day. It was a difficult encounter. Gabon had a sharper attacking line and a well-coordinated midfield. When you kick start a big tournament like this there are two things that mostly happen to you. Either you triumph in your first match or you roll out a mediocre performance, which was our case. But it is too early to judge the strength of teams and predict what will happen by the end of the group stage.
ASTV: As a midfielder and captain, was there any special preparation to police Pierre Emerick Aubameyang?
CK: No, no, not at all. Every coach has his plan for his back half and that involves all the opposite players and not only the top players. You could see there was no tight concentration on Aubameyang. We know he is a great player but we always endeavour to heed to directives given to us.
ASTV: Do you think other teams see you as a side to beat because you reached the final of the 2013 edition against Nigeria?
CK: Yes of course. If Nigeria had qualified, the two teams to beat would have been the Super Eagles and Burkina Faso. We feel that pressure and really want to live up to expectation in order to maintain our progress over the years on the continental scene.
ASTV: Do you think home support for Gabon contributed to their victory?
CK: Perhaps, but no professional player would count on home support to win games. We did our best against a better team and that was the result we got. In a lengthy competition like the Afcon there is no reminiscence. Once you finish a match you plan for the next.
ASTV: And the next is host team Equatorial Guinea. Do you expect a difficult match?
CK: Yes, perhaps tougher than Gabon’s. In an Afcon you should never expect an easy match. All those who progressed to the finals are the best teams in Africa and so expect fierce opposition. We as Burkinabe, we are not scared of any team even if we are playing them in their own village. The rule says each team comes out with 11 players. What determines is how you play on the pitch and not those cheering you from the stands.
ASTV: It appears a must win for both sides.
CK: You are right. Equatorial Guinea have a sound collective bloc, with sharp wingers. But we have better individual qualities and experience. We have the kind of defence that can contain their push. I think the outcome will be determined by little details. I mean by moves that can make the difference.
ASTV: Would it be a disaster if Burkina Faso crash out in the group stage?
CK: (Laugh) No not at all. It would be painful but that’s football. We will continue working hard in line with our country’s football development projects.