Aware of the challenges ahead of them when the 2019 AFCON kicks off in Egypt next month, Burundi head coach Oliver Niyungeko believes his lads would not be intimidated by the pedigree of Nigeria and Guinea with
the qualities of the West African teams.
Despite acknowledging that they would face a daunting task advancing from Group B, the home-grown tactician told CAFonline yesterday that they would give their best against the Coach Genor Rohr side.
Burundi will be making their debut at the continental football showpiece qualified in Group C in the qualifiers ahead of Gabon will battle Madagascar, Nigeria and Guinea for a place in the next round of the competition holding in Egypt.
“It is a very tough group because apart from Madagascar; Nigeria and Guinea are teams who have experience playing in this competition. We will do our best, take a match at a time and represent Burundi in the best way we can,” Niyungeko admitted.
The tactician would be relying on the experience of his foreign-based lads at the Mundial. “We have many players turning out in other African countries and in Asia but the two had a very big influence in the team. When they came in, they gave a lot of motivation to the other players showing
them that anything is possible and football can indeed change someone’s life.” Niyungeko said.
“They influenced the players in a positive way and it made my work easier as a coach. They want their teammates to follow in their paths and told them that qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations would put their careers in a good place,” the tactician stated.
With a target of doing very well in Egypt, Niyungeko said: “My target is to ensure we do our best. We are not here to show weakness or participate. We are here to compete and show that our qualification was no fluke. There are 24 teams and each has equal chance and we are also part of that with an equal chance.
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“It is possible to reach any target we set and I believe in my players and that we can work hard and do well in this tournament,” he stated.