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Nov 18, 2013

Alain Traore unlikely to make Burkina XI

Burkina Faso coach Paul Put has told ESPN he is "unlikely" to hand returning striker Alain Traore a start in the World Cup playoff second-leg against Algeria, but hinted there could be a place for Moumouni Dagano in his XI.

• Lomas: Put's shot at redemption

Traore, 25, has endured an injury-plagued year since coming off in the African Nations Cup semi-final victory over Ghana in February.

He has featured just three times for club side Lorient this season but was selected in Put's national team squad for the crunch qualifier in Algiers.

Traore's inclusion was greeted excitedly in Burkina Faso but Put is adamant he will only use fully fit players for the match, with the West African nation defending a 3-2 lead as they seek a place at their first ever World Cup.

Alain Traore Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso star Alain Traore has endured an injury-plagued 2013.

"Alain [Traore] has been out for six or seven months -- he has hardly played," Put told ESPN. "You can imagine that the competition is in the legs, not in the heart.  He has his quality, he has his technique and we know he is very important but unfortunately he was out of competition and to play away in Algeria is a tough game.

"I think to play in this game, you need your players whose condition is very strong. He is unlikely to start to be honest."

With Traore out, there could be a place in the starting line-up for Burkina Faso's all-time leading scorer Dagano. The striker, who has netted 31 goals for his country, has found himself down the pecking order under Put, but the Al-Sailiya frontman may yet play a role in Algiers.

"It's always hard to make decisions like leaving out Moumouni Dagano," Put said. "I read about Jose Mourinho making hard decisions with Juan Mata, it is like this for every manager. It was not easy for people to sit on the bench but you have to make choices. If you are honest to the players, they accept more. If you are not honest then you create difficulties in your group.

"I told the players that everyone for me is important. Sometimes you have to make choices and I try to make the best choices for that particular game.  Moumouni still has the ambition to play and to start the game.

"I have to be honest and if I have the feeling in my stomach that Moumouni has to come in to make the difference, why would I not do it? That's what I have been saying also to Moumouni so if I have the feeling that he can do it, it would not stop me.

"He is still very important psychologically to the team because he was a very good player and I know why I keep him in the team -- everyone has respect for Moumouni."

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