Nahayo chasing Afcon dream

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The lanky defender left at the weekend to join his team mates in Bujumbura but will also be hoping for a favour from teammate Dipsy Selolwane of Botswana whose country faces Egypt in another match of the same African Cup of Nations qualifying group.

Nahayo’s native country Burundi is pursuing qualification for the Afcon finals in Ghana next year and if they do make it – it will be a historic feat in that they will be headed to the finals for the very first time.

Burundi is up against bottom-placed Mauritania away on Saturday and need a win to make the dream come true for a country that has been terribly torn apart by war.

With a huge margin win over Mauritania needed, Burundi will merely be awaiting the outcome of the Egypt and Botswana game in the other delayed Group 2 match in Cairo on the same day to ascertain their qualification.

Though the Pharaohs are certain to overcome Botswana, Burundi are affirming their hopes on sneaking in, just like Bafana Bafana, as one of the two second-best placed teams of the 11 four team groups.

Currently with seven points, a huge margin win will take Burundi to 10 points while an expected win for Egypt takes them to the top of the standings.

But a draw or an unlikely loss for the five-time champions, with Burundi winning, will take Nahayo and his team mates to Ghana straight away.

So high are the hopes of the people of Burundi that they have found reason to unite in the hope of getting to the Promised Land.

Former international keeper Aime Kitenge, who has since taken a step back from the national team to focus on club duties, is showing tremendous belief.

“We were once this close before but because of the war we couldn’t make it, but I believe this time we will make it. This is one thing that the people of Burundi have been waiting for,” says the new Thanda Royal Zulu goalkeeper cum keeper coach.

For the Sparrows of Burundi to sneak in via the back door they will also hope that the other delayed match, between Togo and Mali, produces a result on Friday.