Super Eagles’ coach, Gernot Rohr has received a massive warning shot from Burundi’s Hibernian of Scotland striker, Gael Bigirimana, ahead of the opening match between both countries at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
Burundi will on June 22 play their first ever match at the continental soccer showpiece against Nigeria in Alexandria, Egypt, but Bigirimana, who once had former Eagles’ defender, Efe Ambrose as a club mate, is not holding any complexes, as he says The Swallows will be all out to shock Rohr’s squad at Alexandria Stadium.
It was only in March that Burundi booked their passage to the Nations Cup for the first time thanks to a 1-1 draw against Gabon, and The Hibs’ midfielder hopes its impact on the tiny central African country will go well beyond the pitch in Egypt.
Bigirimana, who fled Burundi as a child and returned 15 years later to help them nick a maiden AFCON ticket, says there are many emotional angles to their forthcoming deb ut their appearance at Egypt 2019.
He told fifa.com: “Within the national team, that message that will speak to the whole nation of Burundi. We are all Burundian.
“No matter what the person looks like, no matter what background they come from, what province they come from, what family they’re born in.
“Football is a relay race, you run a bit and you have to pass to the next generation, and they have to run their race.
“We’ll be underdogs at the Africa Cup of Nations, no doubt about that, but, being a small nation, we’ve got nothing to lose.
“I just thank God that we’ve had the privilege of running well. There are no expectations for us to go win the cup.”