Burundi Qualify For AFCON For 1st Time

by Samuel Abasi Posted on March 24th, 2019

Bujumbura, Burundi: Burundi have qualified for their first ever Africa Cup of Nations thanks to a 1-1 draw with Gabon, who will not join them in Egypt later this year. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s Gabon went into the match in Bujumbura needing to win, as they began the day two points adrift in Group C, but they were unable to clinch the victory which would have booked their place in the tournament.

Stubborn Burundi did well defensively, before taking the lead in the 77th minute when Cedric Amissi found the net, a goal that initially had them going top.

An own goal from Omar Ngando soon after ensured a nervy finish, but Burundi held firm to claim an historic point.

Burundi will join Group C winners Mali at the tournament, which will be played in June and July this year.

Daniel Cousin’s players are falling from very high ground and they will have to rebuild a team back home in Libreville. Despite welcoming back Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Gabon failed to break down Burundi who sealed qualification in front of their home fans on a famous day in Bujumbura.

The result means Burundi – who included Stoke City’s Saido Berahino and Hibernian’s Gael Bigirimana in the side – finished second in Group C, behind group leaders Mali who have already qualified, with Gabon, the 2017 Nations Cup hosts, third.

Burundi – who are 138th in the Fifa rankings – will join fellow East Africans Uganda and Kenya at the 2019 finals in Egypt.

Tanzania could make it a weekend to remember for the region. They are also still in contention for a place in Egypt ahead of their derby against Uganda’s Cranes in Dar es Salaam on Sunday.

On Friday, Angola sealed their place at the finals in Egypt with a 1-0 win away to Botswana in their final match of Group I.

The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations will, for the first time, take place in June and July and will feature 24 teams rather than 16.

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Samuel Abasi

Samuel Abasi

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