Burkina Faso make grim pitch their own turf
WHILE many have dreaded playing their Africa Cup of Nations matches at Mbombela Stadium, Burkina Faso have made themselves at home in this neck of the woods.
The Burkinabe have almost revelled in the poor conditions. Paul Put's men have yet to lose a match in the tournament, having won two and drawn two, all of them played here.
They now face Ghana in their semifinal match here tomorrow.
The Stallions have scored six goals and conceded just once, having held Nigeria and Zambia to one-all and goalless draws, respectively.
"This is our home and we are happy we can play here," said Put of Mbombela.
"The conditions aren't good and at times it's been really difficult for us to play our normal game. But we have adapted and we've been getting results. The people here have welcomed us nicely and we really feel at home.
"Yes, Ghana are a big side, but we played Zambia and Nigeria here.
"In football everything is possible. You've got to stay positive and think positive. You'll never know in football," he said.
The locals have indeed warmed to the Burkinabe, as seen in the larger crowd when they played Togo on Sunday.
"I don't know much about the Burkina Faso team, but with Bafana Bafana out of the tournament I've decided to support them," said Fikile Zulu, a local supporter.
"We hardly ever have soccer matches in Nelspruit and such good attendances will ensure we are also considered when there are tournaments in future."