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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2019: Burundi won't be a walk in the park for Nigeria, says Saido Berahino

11:59 SAST 2019/06/22
Saido Berahino - Burundi
The two countries are set to lock horns at the Alexandria Stadium in their opening Group B game

Burundi captain Saido Berahino has warned Nigeria to expect a tough challenge when they face off in their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) opening game.

Saturday's encounter in Alexandria will be the first time the two countries meet in a major tournament.

Burundi qualified for their maiden Afcon campaign with an unbeaten record of two wins and four draws to finish as Group C runners-up behind Mali.

Berahino who is set to make his debut in the continental competition with the Swallows, disclosed that they are not under any pressure against the three-time African champions.

“They don’t know us, they probably don’t watch our games, so that releases the pressure on us so we can play without any fear at all,” Burundi said, per Reuters.

“That’s what we managed to show in the qualification and that’s why we went through the whole qualification unbeaten.

“We are not going to let them walk all over us; we will stand up like we did qualifying and let the best team win.”

The former Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion star will captain Olivier Niyungeko's side in Egypt and he hopes to strengthen the team with the experience he has gathered in Europe.

"The day we qualified, you could see for the first time in the history of Burundi people united together, celebrating together, the whole town was going crazy for two or three days, and you could see the smile on their faces,” he added.

“Being able to captain Burundi for the first time in such a tournament is a massive honour for me... there is a lot on my shoulders but with the experience I’ve gained in Europe, I’m sure I can pass it down to my teammates.”

After Saturday's game, Burundi will face fellow debutants Madagascar on June 27 before wrapping up their group outings against Guinea on June 30.