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Football

Debutants Burundi look towards WAFCON experience

Burundi2
Burundi national women's team
  • Burundi qualified for the Women’s Cup of Nations for the first time ever
  • The team is drawn in a tough pool with Nigeria and South Africa
  • They finished second at the CECAFA Women’s Cup of Nations

Burundi earned qualification from the CECAFA region and will be playing the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations for the first time in their history.

They beat Eritrea 6-0 on aggregate in their first round qualification match, winning 5-0 away from home and 1-0 at home. They were drawn with Djibouti in the second round of qualification and were in devastating form again, winning 6-1 at home in the first leg and 5-0 in the return tie, which was also played at their backyard in Ngozi.

And now, the Swallows will be looking towards good performances in Morocco, despite being drawn in a tough group that has holders and record champions Nigeria as well as perennial competitors and African women football bigwigs South Africa.

The Burundian national women’s football team has had stunted growth in previous years, withdrawing from several tournaments from the early 200s. But they have competed in FIFA recognized matches since 2016.

They participated in the CECAFA Women’s Championship in 2019 where they finished fourth in Tanzania. They continued building on the team from them and this year earned qualification to the Cup of Nations for the first time ever, building on to what their male counterparts achieved in 2019.

Finished second at CECAFA Women’s Championship 

In preparation for the tournament, they played in the CECAFA Women’s Championship again, where they reached the final and lost to Uganda.

The Swallows are coached by Gustave Niyonkuru. He formerly handled the national U-20 men’s team. He has been involved with the youthful women players since 2019 until he was appointed head coach of the Women’s Senior team few months ago. Under his tutelage, Burundi earned qualification to the Cup of Nations for the first time in their history.

Among the players to watch in the Burundian team include Asha Djafari. She is one of the most vital players in the Burundi set up and played a key role for them in qualification as well as their second place finish at the CECAFA Women’s Championship in early June.

The team captain plays her club football in Tanzania with Simba SC and helped them retain their Premier League title last season.

Also of huge impact in the team is Sandrine Niyonkuru. The forward played a key role to help the Swallows qualify for WAFCON 2022. She was Burundi’s top scorer with four goals at the CECAFA Senior Women’s Championship where they finished second and also scored thrice during the qualifiers.

The team also has an England based forward in their ranks. Falone Sumaili who plays for English third tier side Huddersfield Women has been included in the final travelling team.

“I am really delighted to be part of the team and hopefully we can go and do well. We know we are in a tough group but the most important thing for us is to go and learn and pick valuable experience,” she said.

Final List

Burundi women

Burundi national women’s team

Goalkeepers: Belinda Ndoreraho (La Colombe FC), Ariella Umurerwa (La Colombe FC), Amissa Inarunkundo (PVP Buyenzi), Jeanine Irakoze (Fofila FF)

Defenders: Charlotte Irankunda (Fofila PF), Diane Irankunda (Fofila PF), Suzanne Zilfa (PVP Buyenzi), Angelique Keza (Inyange Buja Queen), Nasra Nahimana (PVP Buyenzi), Rachelle Bukuru (The Tigers Queens, Tanzania), Annociate Nshimirimana (PVP Buyenzi), Djazila Uwineza (Fofila PF), Salha Nduwayo (Huksvarna FF, Sweden), Saffira Guinand (FC Yverdon, Switzerland),

Midfielders: Asha Djafari (Simba Queens FC, Tanzania), Joelle Bukuru (Simba Queens, Tanzania), Cheilla Ineza (Huksvarna FF, Sweden), Peace Olga Niyomwungere (La Colombe FC), Erica Kanyamuneza (PVP Buyenzi), Esperance Habonimana (Inyange Buja Queen)

Forwards: Rukiya Bizimana (Etoile du Matin), Aniella Uwimana (Young Princess, Tanzania), Gloris Gakiza (La Colombe FC), Falone Nahimana (Huddersfield TAFC, England), Sandrine Niyonkuru (Fountaingate Schools, Tanzania), Bora Ineza (Fofila PF)

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