By John Egbokhan, Asaba
Burundi qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations finals for the first time in their history yesterday with a 1-1 draw at home to Gabon who have been eliminated.
Cedric Amissi scored in the 76th minute as Burundi, who only needed a draw to qualify, looked to have sealed their place at Egypt 2019.
An own-goal from Omar Ngando eight minutes from time made it a tense finish as Gabon searched for the victory they needed.
Despite welcoming back Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Gabon failed to break down Burundi who sealed qualification in front of their home fans on a famous day in Bujumbura.
The result means Burundi finished second in Group C, behind group leaders Mali who have already qualified, with Gabon, the 2017 Nations Cup hosts, third.
Burundi – who are 138th on the Fifa rankings – will join fellow East Africans Uganda and Kenya at the 2019 finals in Egypt.
Tanzania could make it a weekend to remember for the region. They are also still in contention for a place in Egypt ahead of their derby against Uganda’s Cranes in Dar es Salaam today.
On Friday, Angola sealed their place at the finals in Egypt with a 1-0 win away to Botswana in their final match of Group I.
The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations will, for the first time, take place in June and July and will feature 24 teams rather than 16.