Following their 3-1 defeat by the Cape Verde Blue Sharks in the 2023 CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers at Praia's national stadium on Sunday 18 June, the fans of Burkina Faso's Etalons expressed their disappointment and anger. Unhappy with the performance of Hubert Velud's men, they made their feelings known.
The expected clash between Cape Verde and Burkina Faso ended in a draw. At least, the match went one way. Cape Verde's Blue Requins came from behind to beat Burkina Faso's Stallions 3-1. The result validates Cape Verde's qualification for the 2023 CAF Africa Cup of Nations in Côte d'Ivoire. Burkina Faso did the same on Matchday 4 in Lomé against the Eperviers of Togo. Trailing 1-0, 2-1 and then 3-1, Hubert Velud's men were expected to respond. Unfortunately, they left Praia with their heads down. It was a defeat that angered the Stallions' supporters.
Rain of criticism on the Stallions
"Their (the Stallions') performance was mediocre. Dango Ouattara is no longer the same player we knew so recently, with technical qualities and very decisive in front of goal. As for the defence, there was too much space towards the end of the match. What a disappointment! I was forgetting to mention the speedy recovery of our captain Bertrand Traoré, who played a very good game even if he didn't have the space to find the back of the net," enthused Stallions fan Hamidou Ouédraogo.
Emeraude Da also makes no secret of his sadness. "The Stallions weren't at their best at all. We're getting close to the African Cup of Nations and our players aren't doing us any good. It's time to wake up, starting with the coach. Seydou Ouédraogo, meanwhile, puts things into perspective. "It was a match full of lessons. The Stallions got caught in their own trap. A little overconfidence that didn't allow them to be cautious against a team that necessarily wants a positive result. After the early goal, the Stallions were forced to chase the equaliser, again with an excess of confidence. Cédric Badolo's positioning did not allow him to play to his full potential. We're learning from our mistakes. Congratulations to the Cape Verde Blue Requins.
Fans already calling for Velud's departure
A number of fans have lost their affection for the Stallions' coach and are already calling for him to step down. In their view, since the double-header against the Eperviers of Togo, Hubert Velud has been unconvincing in his approach and coaching, and has failed to control his squad. Nor has he been daring in the content presented by the team. Silas Sawadogo "Velud deserves the red card. I can't understand why he changed Cédric Badolo from an attacking midfielder to a defender and left Valentin Nouma on the bench. Bad coaching from Velud on my part.
Kambou Ba continued. "I hope you're finally going to have some tough words for this coach. We deserve better than this. We were told about a certain new vision that Kamou Malo wouldn't live up to, but now I see that we've been sent a coach who doesn't really live up to the expectations of the people of Burkina Faso. I don't know if he can live up to the vision of the Burkinabe Football Federation (FBF)? In any case, what I am sure of is that he does not live up to the expectations of the Stallions' supporters. A team like ours, which reached the semi-finals of the last Africa Cup of Nations, needs to make a better impression. With Velud it's just the opposite. He hasn't shown anything different from what Kamou Malo did. I think we need to have the courage to say so and call for him to be sacked.
Salifou Son is also calling for the departure of the French coach at the head of the Etalons: "Hubert Velud must leave the bench, that's all. Otherwise, if we play and bring this coach to Côte d'Ivoire, we'll regret it. How many full-backs were on the bench? But why make Cédric Badolo a full-back? Replacing left-back Steeve Yago with left-back Valentin Nouma when we were behind is the worst kind of coaching. Ideally, we should have replaced the left-back with a midfielder or striker in the hope of at least equalising. Once again the coach showed his limitations, not even a Plan B. It was the same against Togo. The Togolese weren't effective or they'd have to beat us both ways. The Cape Verdeans were effective in front of goal and we lost. When a coach always waits for players who are usually first-team regulars to be absent before bringing in other players, it's bound to produce this kind of result.
The fans are expecting the Burkina Faso Football Federation (FBF) to react immediately to this defeat. In particular, Gérard Koala is calling on the body to shoulder its responsibilities. "I don't think our coach is doing anything extraordinary. He came to find an already solid Etalons team. I want Kamou Malo to be reappointed as national coach. Let's buy local. I call on the head of the FBF to settle the Velud case quickly," he concludes.