Burundi head coach Oliver Niyungeko is confident that his side can compete favourably against three-time African champions, the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the other teams in Group B at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, reports Completesports.com.
Les Hirondelles will be making their debut appearance at Africa’s football showpiece event in Egypt after beating Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s Gabon to the ticket.
The Burundians can boast of a number of talented players in their ranks, with Stoke City forward, Saido Berahino the most popular name in their national team.
There are also JS Kabilye of Algeria striker Abdul Razak Fiston who finished the qualifiers with seven goals, one adrift Nigeria’s Odion Ighalo and Gael Bigirimana who plays for Scottish club Hibernian.
“As much as we can celebrate, we can’t do it forever. The qualification is now behind our backs and the work has officially began for us. We have to work hard to prepare and work hard to do well in the tournament,” Niyungeko told CAFonline.com.
“My target is to ensure we do our best. We are not here to show weakness or participate. We are here to compete and show that our qualification was no fluke. There are 24 teams and each has equal chance and we are also part of that with an equal chance.
“It is possible to reach any target we set and I believe in my players and that we can work hard and do well in this tournament.
“It is a very tough group because apart from Madagascar; Nigeria and Guinea are teams who have experience playing in this competition. We will do our best, take a match at a time and represent Burundi in the best way we can.”
Burundi’s first ever AFCON finals game will be against Nigeria on June 22 in Alexandria.
The competition will kick-off on 21st June and end on 19th July. It will be staged in four cities; Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and Ismaila.
By Adeboye Amosu