After stunning the continent by making it to third place at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, Burkina Faso are back in action at AFCON 2023 for what is their 14th journey in the tournament.
The country also heads into this one having finished fourth at the last edition, and high expectations have suddenly crept up on Burkina Faso because of this.
So here's our Burkina Faso AFCON 2023 preview, as they head into the competition as 50/1 long shots to win the entire competition.
How did Burkina Faso qualify for AFCON?
Burkina Faso may have finished top of Group B in the AFCON qualifiers, but it wasn't the easiest route to doing so. In fact, with just a three-point gap on third-placed Togo, there is a lot of improvement needed for them moving into the finals this winter.
They kicked off their Group B qualification campaign with a routine 2-0 win over Cape Verde, and this two-goal margin was matched with a 3-1 win over Eswatini. The nation then went on to defeat Togo 1-0, before a rapid downfall towards the end of the qualifiers.
Burkina Faso would finish the final three games with draws with Togo and Eswatini and a loss to Cape Verde, although the latter loss on matchday five proved inconsequential, given other results.
Burkina Faso AFCON 2023 Preview
Who will Burkina Faso play at AFCON 2023?
Burkina Faso are in Group D, where they will be more than hopeful of progressing into the knockout stages and giving Algeria a serious run for their money.
As the second favourite overall according to the sportsbooks, Algeria are expected to top this group. Riyad Mahrez will captain the side, and other stars like Said Berahma, Amine Gouiri, Houssem Aouar, Ramiz Zerrouki, Rayan Aït-Nouri and Aïssa Mandi make up one of the strongest squads at AFCON 2023.
A nation that is perhaps not on the radar of many AFCON fans, but Mauritania has managed to make it to the last two AFCON finals and has been one of the rising country's in African football. Former Premier League man, Aboubakar Kamara, is the most notable player, and he has eight goals in his past 18 caps for his nation.
Angola are expected to be the least threatenting side at AFCON 2023 for Burkina Faso, although they do have a healthy record at the finals. They've managed to get to the quarter-finals twice (in 2008 and 2010) and they have made it to nine editions of the AFCON proper in total since 1996.
How far will Burkina Faso go?
Given the group they have, Burkina Faso will be mortified if they don't make it to the knockout rounds. They should find all six points quite comfortably against Mauritania and Angola, and only Algeria remain a potential worry for them.
However, with a potential meeting against one of Tunisia, South Africa or Mali at the round of 16 phase – if they finish as runners-up – Burkina Faso could well find their journey end at the first stop after the group stages.
Burkina Faso – Predicted AFCON 2023 XI
Hervé Koffi hit the 50-cap mark at 27 in the recent internationals, and he will no doubt start between the sticks for his country.
Steeve Yago is the most-capped defender with Burkina Faso these days and he will partner Bayer Leverkusen's rising star, Edmond Tapsoba, in central defence. Nasser Djiga and Valentin Nouma are likely to occupy the full-back roles.
Cyrille Bayala, Adama Guira and Blati Touré continue to work in a midfield three for Burkina Faso, and they will likely feature each game.
Bertrand Traoré is no doubt the most notable star, and the Aston Villa man will feature as the main figure for Burkina Faso. Abdoul Tapsoba will also feature in the forward lines for his country, and the forward trio is likely to be completed by Bournemouth's Dango Ouattara, as he now has six goals in 14 caps.