MX23RW : Thursday, August 5 21:24:21| >> :600:66208104:66208104:
Jun 27, 2019 at 3.30pm UK at Alexandria Stadium, Alexandria
Attendance: 4,900
FT(HT: 0-0)

Gael Bigirimana: 'I never expected to play at Africa Cup of Nations'

The former Coventry and Newcastle midfielder left his native country Burundi to escape war.

Gael Bigirimana has admitted he never dreamt of representing Burundi at the Africa Cup of Nations after leaving the war-torn country for England as a schoolboy.

Bigirimana, the son of a Burundian father and a Rwandan mother, and his family headed for a new life in Britain when he was 10 years old.

Some 15 years on, he is a key member of the team which will line up against Madagascar in Alexandria on Thursday with their continued presence at the tournament in the balance after an opening 1-0 Group B defeat by Nigeria.

The former Coventry, Newcastle, Motherwell and Hibernian midfielder told "Never, not even in my wildest dreams, did I ever think this day would come. I was just a normal kid born in Burundi playing football bare foot on the streets.

"But then it never occurred to me that even after moving to England I will come back to serve my country in this capacity."

Les Hirondelles are making their Africa Cup of Nations debut in Egypt, as are Madagascar, who banked their first point courtesy of a 2-2 draw with Guinea.

However, Madagascar coach Nicolas Dupuis is taking nothing for granted as he prepares for a game which could have a major say in whether his team makes it out of the group or not.

Dupuis said: "It would be a great risk if we underestimated the opponent. It's a difficult match and Burundi is a great and stubborn team. We have to be really focused and prepared."

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United StatesUnited States29352791
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Friday's key events

· Great Britain's women aim to secure their place on the podium as they face India in the bronze medal match (2.30am)
· Netherlands - silver medallists five years ago - and Argentina battle for the gold medal in the women's final (11am)

· The women's gold medal will be decided as Australia and USA go head to head (3.30am)

· Lauren Price will be looking to add to Team GB's success in the ring when she takes on Nouchka Fontijn of Netherlands in the women's middleweight semi-final (6am)

· Tom Daley already has one Olympic gold to his name in Tokyo, and he begins his bid for second in the men's 10m platform. Teammate Noah Williams is also involved in the preliminary round (7am)

· Jason Kenny's reign as sprint king may be over, but Jack Carlin looked strong in his bid to succeed his compatriot. He takes on Harrie Lavreysen in his sprint semi-final (8.10am), with the final taking place later in the day (10.35am)
· The women's madison makes its Olympic debut at the velodrome as Team GB duo Katie Archibald and Laura Kenny look to add another medal to their collections (9.15am)

· Hosts Japan will look to get themselves on the podium as they face Mexico in the men's bronze medal match (10am)
· The women's champions will be crowned as both Sweden and Canada aim to win Olympic gold for the very first time (1pm)

· The men's 5000m final includes Great Britain's Andrew Butchart, but most eyes will be on Ugandan world record holder Joshua Cheptegei (1pm)
· Team GB's Jodie Williams will hope to get on the podium in the women's 400m final, but defending champ Shaunae Miller-Uibo is favourite for gold while Stephenie Ann McPherson should challenge and Allyson Felix is bidding to become the most decorated female track and field athlete of all time (1.35pm)
· Netherlands' Sifan Hassan takes on leg two of her ambitious attempt at a Tokyo treble in a women's 1500m final which also includes Great Britain's Laura Muir and Faith Kipyegon of Kenya (1.50pm)
· A star-studded women's 4x100m relay final will see a Team GB quartet including Dina Asher-Smith look to upset defending champions USA and favourites Jamaica, who boast Elaine Thompson-Herah as she goes for her third gold of the Games (2.30pm)
· Great Britain and Jamaica will also be going for gold in the men's 4x100m relay final, and their medal hopes have been boosted by USA's failure to qualify (2.50pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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