Vipers and Burundi’s inspirational roving defender Abdul Karim Niyigizimana has today entered into the tiny East African nation legends by guiding the country to its first ever Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament.
Having joined Vipers from Gor Mahia during the mid season registration of players after recovering from a career threatening injury, the right back has had limited playing time at Kitende as he continued to regain match fitness but his contribution whenever fielded, has been immense.
Needing only a point to confirm their qualification against a Aubemeyang led Gabon, Burundi did exactly that by holding the West Africans to a 1-1 draw in Bujumbura sparking off wild celebrations throught the country.
They took the lead in the 77th minute through Cedric Amissi before Omar Ngando connected in his own net moments later making the last stages of the match very tense but Burundi held on for the vital result sealing qualification in the process.
This historical achievement automatically earns Karim’s generation legendary statuses amongst the locals as it had never been witnessed in the country’s history.
They will now join the table of men when the rest of Africa converge for the 32nd edition of the African show piece to be staged in the North African state of Egypt from 21st June to 19th July 2019.
As per the Caf executive committee decision, its going to be the first time to move the nation’s cup from January /February to June/July as well as expanding it from 16 to 24 teams.
Six stadiums namely Cairo International, Alexandria, Suez, Ismailia, Al Masry and Cairo have already been earmarked to host the matches as Africa’s heavyweights tussle it out.
Senegal, Madagascar, Morocco, Mali, Algeria, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Guinea, Cote Divoire, Cameroon, Angola, Mauritania, Tunisia, Egypt and Uganda have already sealed their slots as the rest eight remain to be determined over the weekend after completion of all qualification matches.