Football

Vipers Nizigiyimana Captains Burundi To First AFCON Tournament

Vipers fullback Abdul Karim Nizigiyimana was the captain as his Burundi team reached the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in the country’s history.

Nizigiyimana joined the Kitende based club in early February on a free transfer, signing a two year tenure, after his contract with Kenya’s Gor Mahia expired.

Karim Nizigiyimina

Burundi needed a draw against opponents Gabon coming into the final game in Bujumbura to seal their feat at the expanded tourney.

The East African side, after surviving in the earlier minutes, got into the lead via Cedric Amissi’s strike in the 76th minute to send wild celebrations in a packed Prince Louis Rwagasore Stadium on Saturday.

Gabon, who had Premier League players Pierre Abumeyang (Arsenal) and Bruno Ecuele Manga (Cardiff FC) among other stars, leveled matters through Omar Ngando’s own goal but couldn’t get the needed winner before crashing out.

Karim holding Burundi’s flag, back while still at Gor. Courtesy photo

Burundi joins Uganda and Kenya among the East African teams to have qualified to this year’s AFCON, set in Egypt in June/July. Tanzania, too, can still book their ticket on Sunday.

Burundi finish second in Group C, behind Mali, with 10 points, two above Gabon in third. South Sudan finish at the bottom.

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