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Stoke City striker Saido Berahino swaps allegiance from England to Burundi

16:21 IST 01/08/2018
Saido Berahino | England
The 24-year-old Bujumbura-born forward is a former England youth international

Burundi’s trip to Gabon for an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in September has been given a major boost after Fifa cleared Stoke City striker Saido Berahino to play for his country of birth.

After relocating to England as a child, Berahino went on to feature for England youth teams but struggled to break into the senior side.

A call up to the England senior squad in 2014 by former manager Roy Hodgson was unfruitful as he did not play against Slovenia and Scotland.

Burundian publication Iwacu reported that Fifa has reportedly allowed Saido Berahino to switch international allegiance after the Football Federation of Burundi (FFB) made an application to the world football governing body.

“Fifa have authorised the Burundian international playing for Stoke City to wear the jersey of the Burundian national team,” FFB secretary general Jeremie Manirakiza told Iwacu.

"Saido Berahino is an experienced player. Burundi will benefit enormously from his experience,” he added. 

Having played alongside current England captain Harry Kane in the Under-21 side, Berahino was also part of the squad that won the 2010 Under-17 European championship.

Now he is expected to help Burundi maintain their fine start in the Afcon qualifiers after beating South Sudan 3-0 in their opening match, in a group that also has Mali whom they visit in October.