Afcon 2017: Burkina Faso coach Duarte hails 'father figure' Mourinho

Paulo Duarte (left)
Paulo Duarte (left) is aiming to lead Burkina Faso to their first Nations Cup title

Burkina Faso coach Paulo Duarte has revealed Jose Mourinho has phoned him ahead of Wednesday's Africa Cup of Nations semi-final against Egypt.

Duarte played under Mourinho when he began his career with Uniao Leiria in 2001 and has been strongly influenced by his fellow Portuguese.

"He congratulated me and said he is not surprised (that we reached the semis)," Duarte told BBC Sport.

"He is like a father for me, and for the young Portuguese coaches."

Duarte added: "For me, for us, Mourinho is a good reference so when he called me I was very happy."

Although Duarte is still searching for a first trophy while Manchester United boss Mourinho boasts 23, what do they have in common is that both began their coaching career with Uniao Leiria.

Duarte, who spent a decade at the club between 1995 and 2004, was Mourinho's centre-back as Uniao Leiria finished seventh in 2002.

"Mourinho is very important in my career because 15 years ago, he changed the mentality of Portuguese football. The training and the mentality of the players changed," Duarte said.

Of the four semi-finalists at this year's Nations Cup in Gabon, the Burkinabe - surprise runners-up in 2013 - are the only side to have never won the title.

After a season in charge of Leiria, Duarte instantly moved to Burkina Faso - leading the side between 2008 and 2012.

After spells with French side Le Mans, Tunisian club Sfaxien and Gabon's national team, the 47-year-old returned to take charge of the Stallions in 2015.

Now, they are impressing observers with the quality of their football - particularly when beating Tunisia 2-0 in Saturday's quarter-final in the Gabonese capital Libreville.

"Egypt have a good team but I have a good team, too," Duarte explained.

"I know this team from 10 years ago but back then, we didn't have so many good players because they were all playing in second or third divisions. Now everybody plays in a premier league.

"The success of the team is hard work and humility.

"I'm very happy because every day my team is better. We are playing very good football and this is very important for me."

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