Out-of favour Stoke City striker Saido Berahino has been named as captain of Burundi when the East African nation takes on Nigeria’s Super Eagles in Group B of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) holding in Egypt this month.
However, Berahino has described the forthcoming AFCON as the biggest tournament he would be playing for the first time.
“Everybody in the team is looking forward to the African Cup. We’ve made history and some of the boys; I don’t think they’re going to play in a bigger tournament in their lives. Even myself; it’s the biggest tournament I’ll play in for the first time. We’re working very hard and God is going to help us, I know for sure,” Berahino said.
Already the team has arrived Qatar for their training camp ahead of AFCON.
Berahino was named captain of Burundi as they compete in their first major international tournament.
The striker, who will leave Stoke City this summer after being found guilty of drink-driving, remains a hero in Burundi after returning to help the national team qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations.
Berahino decided to return to the team late last summer and will now lead their charge as major outsiders in Egypt next month.
He told his followers on Instagram: “So honoured to be given the role to lead my country as captain – a dream of mine as a young boy.”
Stoke clubmate Erik Pieters was among those to offer congratulations, saying: “Let’s go mon frere!”
Berahino has been introduced to Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza in Bujumbura as this week as the whole squad got together for the first time before the competition.
He told a press conference: “I’m glad and I’m thankful that all the players have come back from their leagues and their championships in good health. No one came back injured.”