Burkina Faso relief at CAS ruling in Zengue case

Jonathan Pitroipa of Burkina Faso
Jonathan Pitroipa is Burkina Faso's most high profile player and can now prepare for the Nations Cup free of worry

Burkina Faso's Football Federation (FBF) has welcomed the news that the country has been cleared to take part in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Namibia had claimed that they should replace the Burkinabe at the tournament and took their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

CAS rejected that claim, and the Stallions can now prepare as planned.

"We were expecting the decision, even if we were a little bit worried," FBF spokesman Emmanuel Zombre told the BBC.

"The Confederation of African Football (Caf) had twice rejected Namibia's complaint so we were very hopeful - and now we can fully prepare for the competition."

The case centred on the eligibility or otherwise of Burkinabe defender Herve Zengue, with Namibia claiming that he did not qualify to represent them.

But CAS, without detailing their reasons for backing Caf's previous decisions, turned down Namibia's request - while stating that Zengue had lived in Burkina Faso since 1994.

Zombre admitted that fans, players and members of the federation had been concerned by the possibility of being ejected from the tournament.

"Of course with all the buzz around the story, players, technical staff, everybody in the team was worried.

"Players had to answer questions all the time for days - now with the CAS decision, it's alright."

Burkina Faso played a friendly with tournament co-hosts Gabon on Sunday, which ended in a 0-0 draw.

They are due to go to Cameroon to continue their pre-tournament preparations.

They are in Group B on the Nations Cup and will play Ivory Coast, Sudan and Angola in the first phase of the competition.