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Edmond Tapsoba aims at better performance with Burkinabe

BURKINA FASO

A Bundesliga champion with Bayer Leverkusen, Edmond Tapsoba is now eyeing World Cup history.

  • Bayer Leverkusen defender Edmond Tapsoba speaks to FIFA
  • The Burkina Faso player is dreaming of World Cup qualification
  • After four rounds of CAF qualifying, the West Africans are third in Group A

After being called up for his country’s FIFA World Cup 26™ qualifiers earlier this month, Edmond Tapsoba received a hero’s welcome upon arriving in his hometown of Ouagadougou. The 25-year-old Burkina Faso international had just finished an exceptional season with his club Bayer Leverkusen, and his people wanted to salute him.

Tapsoba helped his club win a 2023/24 Bundesliga and German Cup double, with Leverkusen going the entire domestic season unbeaten. They also finished runners-up in the UEFA Europa League.

“I want to give back all the happiness my people give me,” he said in an exclusive interview with FIFA. “They never stop supporting and encouraging me, even in difficult times.”

Today, the man whom the Burkinabe have nicknamed Zaksoba, meaning “the head of the house”, would like to reciprocate the affection his people have shown him by fulfilling a cherished dream: that of taking his beloved Burkina Faso to the FIFA World Cup™ for the first time in its history.

“We’re dreaming about it and giving ourselves the means to get there,” said the centre-back of his country’s chances of heading to the 2026 tournament. “To that end, we’re working a great deal on certain details, such as concentration. We also need to learn from previous generations, and we’re always open to sharing with our elders.”

He has indeed exchanged ideas with veteran former Burkina Faso players, such as Jonathan Pitroipa, Aristide Bance or Djakaridja Kone, who were all part of a painful 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign that could so easily have ended differently.

“Our brothers came so close to qualifying, but they came up against a great Algerian team,” Tapsoba lamented, recalling his country’s away-goals defeat in the CAF play-offs. “We won the first leg 3-2, which for me is still our greatest achievement in the history of World Cup qualifying. I remember the feeling of joy and hope that swept the country, it was great. Unfortunately, the second leg was a more tactical affair and Algeria were stronger than us, winning 1-0.”

After a moment of reflection, Tapsoba added: “The country deserves to again experience that feeling [from the first leg of that play-off], but in a more prolonged way. People want to see us at the World Cup at all costs. Our squad is made up of youngsters and talented senior players. We have to fly the flag of Burkina Faso high to make our parents and supporters proud.”

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