BANDARI MAN UPBEAT

Ndikumana fired up ahead of Afcon qualifiers

Burundi also known as the Swallows are placed in Pool E of the qualifiers alongside Morocco and Mauritania.

In Summary

•Burundi have been residing at a Kilimani based apartment since Friday last week and held their training sessions at the Camp Toyoyo grounds

•Meanwhile, the team will miss the services of former Stoke City forward Saido Berahino who is injured

Justin Ndikumana
Justin Ndikumana
Image: ERICK BARASA

Burundian Justin Ndikumana hopes to use his experience at Bandari to lift his country when they face Central African Republic tomorrow in their opening 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

Ndikumana has been working under former Harambee Stars goalkeeper trainer Razak Siwa at Bandari and believes his experience will be key if Burundi are to deliver in the opening match. 

Burundi are set to launch their bid to return to the bi-annual continental tournament after exiting this year's show in Egypt at the preliminary level.

The former Sofapaka player is banking on the progress made under Siwa to start ahead of the experienced Tanzanian-based Jonathan Nahimana.

Nahimana, who plies his trade with KMC, played all their Afcon matches in Egypt and the first leg of a 2022 World Cup qualifier match against Tanzania on September 4. However, Ndikumana was used in the return match played four days later and he is keen to pick from where he left.

 

Nahimana has since been struggling for playing time at his club, thanks to the re-emergence of Tanzanian international Juma Kaseja whose prowess earned the East Africans a place in next year's Chan finals in Cameroon. Burundi also known as the Swallows are placed in Pool E of the qualifiers alongside Morocco and Mauritania.

“I am certain that I will start in the qualifiers ahead Nahimana. I have improved a lot under Siwa and I think I am favourite to man the goal. The coach told me I did well in the last match against Tanzania and I am hopeful that playing time against CAR will be an avenue for me to fully cement a place in the starting team.

Burundi have been residing at a Kilimani-based apartment since Friday last week and held their training sessions at the Camp Toyoyo grounds. The Olivier Niyungeko-coached team jetted out yesterday to the Central African Republic and are expected to jet back to Nairobi on Thursday to prepare for their second qualifier match against Morocco this weekend.

“All the players called to the team reported to Nairobi and trained at Toyoyo for two days. We are scheduled to train in Nairobi again ahead of our second match against Morocco. The technical bench chose Nairobi for easy travelling, climate and the local foods which are also available back at home.”

Meanwhile, the team will miss the services of former Stoke City forward Saido Berahino who is injured. Chipa United captain Frederic Nsabiyumva and Buildcon centre half David Nshirimana will also miss the clash