Burundi has qualified for the African Cup of Nations finals for the first time as they kept Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in check to get the point they needed in a 1-1 draw on Saturday.
If you think the AFCON is about big name players, I'm sorry to disappoint you. It means so much to Africans beyond big individuals. See the streets of Burundi. A country that really needed and fought for it pic.twitter.com/bWQ1BuvwOy— Saddick Adams (@SaddickAdams) March 23, 2019
The result secured them second place in Group C to join Madagascar and Mauritania as countries going to the finals for the first time and their achievement sparked wild celebrations in the tiny east African country.
They were joined later on Saturday by Cameroon, Guinea Bissau and Namibia, who qualified despite losing 4-1 to Zambia in dramatic circumstances.
While Burundi needed only a draw, visitors Gabon, who hosted the last finals in 2017, had to win in Bujumbura to join group winners Mali in the expanded 24-team finals in Egypt in June and July.
Burundi were kept at bay repeatedly by the heroics of Gabon’s veteran goalkeeper Didier Ovono before Cedric Amissi broke the deadlock in the 75th minute.
Yet celebrations were on hold until the final whistle as Gabon
Gabon’s Arsenal striker Aubameyang had a largely quiet afternoon and they were unable to get the second goal they needed to reach the finals.
Burundi qualifies for AFCON for the first time in history. pic.twitter.com/VDN1qCABjh— Africa Facts Zone (@AfricaFactsZone) March 23, 2019
AFCON 2019 will have a big East African contingent. Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, and Kenya all through.
Rwanda closed borders with Afcon,Uganda and Burundi. Only Rwanda ,a rotten patato in EAC did not qualify.Go #Burundi,#Tanzania,#Kenya and #Uganda.the bad neigbourg #Rwanda is out.Rwanda is a curse in EAC pic.twitter.com/cGO6dI165L— Silent Vyk (@uwaBenigne) March 24, 2019