AFCON 2023: Burkina Faso to part company with coach Hubert Velud

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Burkina Faso is in search of a new coach after opting not to extend the contract of coach Hubert Velud following their elimination in the last-16 stage of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

The Stallions suffered a narrow 2-1 defeat to Mali in a tense knockout match on January 30th, following their second-place finish in Group D, ahead of 2019 champions Algeria but behind Angola.

Despite being runners-up in 2013, Burkina Faso, who have yet to win the Nations Cup trophy, reached the semi-finals in 2017 and in the tournament two years prior in 2021.

In a statement, the country’s football federation (FBF) said its executive committee “noted that results fell short of the expectations of the Burkinabe people” and reassured fans of its “desire to continue to ensure that the national flag is raised at the highest level in future events”.

“To do this, it is undeniable that the management [of the Stallions], observed during this Nations Cup is out of phase with the ambitions of the executive committee,,” the FBF statement added.

At this year’s Nations Cup in Ivory Coast, Frenchman Velud, who signed a two-year contract in April 2022, finally assumed managerial duties for a team in the tournament after qualifying with a third different country.

His attempt to lead Togo in 2010 was thwarted when the team withdrew just before the finals due to a gun attack by separatists in the Angolan enclave of Cabinda. Velud was injured in the arm during the attack, while his assistant, Amalete Abalo, and the team’s media officer, Stanislas Ocloo, tragically lost their lives.

Subsequently, the 64-year-old guided Sudan to qualify for the 2021 Nations Cup, which was postponed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, he was dismissed from his position just weeks before the finals in Cameroon following a poor performance in the Arab Cup.

The FBF has already begun preparations for both the 2025 Nations Cup and the 2026 World Cup, with the next qualifiers for the latter scheduled for June. The West Africans currently hold four points after their initial two World Cup qualifiers, trailing Group A leaders Egypt by two points.

Velud becomes the eighth coach to step down from his position since the start of this year’s Nations Cup, which concludes on Sunday with the final between hosts Ivory Coast and Nigeria.

He joins Jean-Louis Gasset (Ivory Coast), Chris Hughton (Ghana), Djamel Belmadi (Algeria), Jalel Kadri (Tunisia), Tom Saintfiet (Gambia), Rui Vitoria (Egypt), and Baciro Cande (Guinea-Bissau) in vacating their respective roles.