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Burkina Faso given Pitroipa boost for Sunday's AFCON final

updated 4:16 PM EST, Fri February 8, 2013
Burkina Faso star Jonathan Pitroipa will be eligible for Sunday's final after his red card was rescinded by CAF.
Burkina Faso star Jonathan Pitroipa will be eligible for Sunday's final after his red card was rescinded by CAF.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Burkina Faso will have Jonathan Pitroipa available for Sunday's final against Nigeria
  • Pitroipa has had his red card from the semifinal rescinded following referee's report
  • CAF announced that referee had sent letter saying he got it wrong
  • Tunisian official Jdidi Slim was suspended following his performance in semifinal

(CNN) -- Justice was done Friday as Burkina Faso star Jonathan Pitroipa was cleared to play his part in the nation's quest for Africa Cup of Nations glory.

Pitroipa, who was wrongly sent off by referee Slim Jdidi during the semifinal win against Ghana, was left devastated after being shown a red card in the 117th minute.

But after Thursday's decision to suspend the Tunisian official, which followed an error-strewn performance, the Confederation of African Football has given its permission for Pitroipa to play.

AFCON referee suspended

"The red card is withdrawn," CAF secretary general Hicham El Amrani told journalists after the disciplinary commission's decision.

Pitroipa, who scored the only goal of the game in the 1-0 quarterfinal win over Togo, also netted during the 4-0 thrashing of Ethiopia.

"I am happy because to take part in this final was my objective," Pitroipa told AFP.

"Being red-carded, it was as if my dream was not going to be realized. But to know that I will take to the pitch with my teammates makes me very happy."

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And CAF president Issa Haytaou confirmed that the Rennes man will be allowed to play following an admission of error by Jdidi in his match report.

"Everyone realised that this referee did not officiate well," Issa Hayatou told reporters.

"They have told me the referee has sent a letter saying he got it wrong.

"The referee admitted his error in his report given to the (CAF) secretary general (Hicham El Amrani) -- he recognized that he had got it wrong."

The decision will come as a huge relief to the Burkinabe, which is already without injured striker Alain Traore for Sunday's final.

Burkina Faso fairytale ready for one last chapter

"It is good news for Burkina Faso, for the team and especially for Jonathan because he is a player who did not deserve to be suspended," Burkina Faso coach Paul Put told AFP.

"He is someone who plays with flair on the pitch and fans love to see players like that. So we are happy that CAF has made the correct decision."

Before its arrival in South Africa,'The Stallions' had sought to end a run which had seen it fail to win a single game at the tournament since it hosted the event in 1998.

There was little to suggest that it would fare any better this time around, winning just two of its previous 26 games, drawing six and suffering 18 defeats.

Last year, Burkina Faso lost all three matches and was fortunate to make the finals after fielding an ineligible player in a qualifier against Namibia.

But the Burkinabe will now go into Sunday's final at Soweto's Soccer City dreaming of pulling off a triumph with Pitroipa ready to lead from the front.

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