The brightly lit Burkina Faso and Mauritania square off in the opening match of Group D of the Africa Cup of Nations on Tuesday afternoon at Stade Bouake.
The Stallions, who have advanced to the final in two of the last three Africa Cup of Nations, are hoping to continue their strong recent performance, while the Lions of Chinguetti want to win the event for the first time ever.
Burkina Faso, who are frequently regarded as AFCON dark horses, have advanced to the semifinals or championship round in three of the previous five tournaments.
They advanced to the 2013 final, were eliminated in the group stage in 2015, and were not present in the event in 2019.
Their trip to the Ivory Coast was not without incident; after three straight wins in qualification, they were winless in their final three games, which was frustrating. They nevertheless managed to maintain their lead in the group over Cape Verde, Togo, and Swaziland.
Under Hubert Velud, a seasoned African football coach, Burkina Faso are projected to finish among the top two in Group D alongside Algeria, above Angola and Mauritania.
On the field, the Stallions enter the tournament with a winning record, having triumphed over DR Congo 2-1 in their final warm-up game and winning three of their previous five games in all competitions. Internal strife within the football association, however, may prove to be a problem.