Refugee child inspires Burundi to maiden AFCON qualification

Saido Berahino over the weekend helped Burundi to qualify for their first ever Africa Cup of the Nations (AFCON).


Burundi booked their ticket to the 2019 AFCON following drew one all against Gabon in Bujumbura on Saturday.

Sadio Berahino who fled Burundi with his mum to the United Kingdom at age 10 and had an opportunity to play for Wes Bromwich Albion after his father had been killed in a civil war, returned to his country of birth to help them qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations for the very first time in their history.  

"It's amazing, I cannot find the words. I need to take myself away for a moment to try and properly realise what has happened because I have not really been able to do that yet," Berahino told Radio France International.


"It was crazy from start to finish, from the moment we went to the stadium until when we left. It's been totally unimaginable.

"I can only thank God for the fact that I have always wanted to represent a team at a big tournament, and I can do with my homeland. It's perfect. It's a dream come true.

Berahino who was given refugee status featured for England at the U-21 level, but last year FIFA authorised for his nationality switch to play for Burundi

"That decision made us more motivated and it gave us more of the determination we needed to get our name on this Africa Cup of Nations," Berahino said.

"It wasn't a simple task, but we are a very united squad. We were successful thanks to our unity. Being the first generation from Burundi to qualify for the Cup of Nations is something we will always have."


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