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Burundis national team, which has not qualified for a big competition before, will be making their maiden appearance in CHAN in South Africa next year.
To qualify for the 2014 CHAN, Burundi ejected Kenya on a 1-0 goal aggregate in the preliminary round before drawing 1-1 with Sudan in either legs, before winning 4-3 on penalties in Khartoum.
The Swallows are handled by Egyptian coach Lofty Naseem, who took charge of the team after the resignation of Adel Amrouche (now Kenya coach).
Although many will think Burundi will be one of the weakest teams, they are not the kind of side to easily underrate. The success of local team VitalO, which won the 2013 regional Cecafa Kagame Club Championship in Darfur, Sudan, clearly sends a clear message across.
The Swallows, who will also use the 2013 Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup to prepare their team, will depend on star players like Gilbert Kaze (Vital O), who scored in a 1-1 draw against Sudan in the qualifier, and midfielders Masudi Abdallah and Gaël Duhayindavyi.
Burundi entered the 2014 Africa Nations Championship with high hopes of making a strong impression on the tournament, and after their opening two games they looked like potential quarterfinalists.
The Swallows held Gabon 0-0 in their opening Group D match and followed that up with a thrilling 3-2 win over fellow debutants Mauritania in which Selemani Ndikumana scored an injury time winner.
Four points from two matches left Burundi with their fate in their own hands in their final first round match against DR Congo in Polokwane, but even an early strike from Ndikumana wasnt enough to avoid a 2-1 defeat which saw them slip to third place on the log and miss out on the next phase.
Nonetheless, coach Lofty Naseem can take many positives from their debut showing in a continental tournament and Burundi will now target the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers with greater confidence.
|2013 AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS QUALIFIERS TEAM RECORD|
|LAST 10 HOME:||5||1||2||2||6||8||-2||0||0||5|
|LAST 10 AWAY:||5||0||2||3||3||6||0||0||0||2|