Burundi have become the first nation to be dumped out of the 2019 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup, after facing their third defeat of the tournament, falling 2-1 against Djibouti on Wednesday afternoon at StarTimes Stadium Lugogo.
Mahdi Houssein bagged a brace for Djibouti in either side of half time, while Landry Ndikumana scored the solo goal for Burundi.
Heading into the tournament, Burundi were expected to be one of the teams that would progress to the knock out rounds, but they put up a string of poor performances especially against Djibouti and Eritrea, teams they should be able to pick points off easily.
Djibouti were outside favorites in the game, but went ahead in the 10th minute, Hossein poping up to score the opening goal for his side.
Their lead lasted only four minutes, as Burundi drew level with a first time volley inside the area, after Djibouti failed to deal well with a corner.
The Burundians kept up the pressure, but were dealt a huge blow as midfielder Abedi Bigirimana who was one of their better players was forced off through injury and was replaced by Juma Saidi.
With just over half an hour played, Burundi were lucky for the scoreline to remain level, after Salem Mohamed headed just inches wide.
In the second stanza, it is Burundi that came back with more pomp and determination to go ahead, creating chance after chance but could not capitalize on the mammoth of chances they created.
And with 20 minutes to play, Burundi’s deepest fears were realized, as the referee Anthony Ogwayo pointing to the spot, after their captain Narerimana Leon handling inside the area.
Mahdi Houssein stepped up to score his second on the day, and almost but surely dump Brurndi out of the tournament. Burundi had time for one more chance, but Djibouti shot stopper Innocent Mbonihaukoye pulled off a million dollar save to surely hand his side victory.
Djibouti now move second in Group A, with four points from their two games so far. While Burundi’s hopes of a fourth CECAFA crown are over.
Shocked and Disappointed; What they said
Burundi Assistant coach Juma Mossi: Shocked and disappointed that a team like Burundi can lose three games, they didn’t give their best but they shall have to sit down rethink their priorities, and rebuild for the future.
Djibouti Head coach Julien Mette: We came this year to test ourselves, but am not as surprised with the results because we have been good, we have faced just two losses in ten games this is our fourth victory. We can qualify, we play against Eritrea in what looks to be a final.
Burundi XI: Mutombora Fabien (GK), Ndizeye Eric, Ndikumana Landry, Kagabo Urasenga Eric, Nyandwi Aime, Bigiriamana Abedi, Hakizimana Issa, Amini Abdul, Dusabe Olivier, Nyamungo Raoul, Narerimana Leon (c).
Subs: Rukundo Onesime (GK), Juma Saidi, Muryangoo Moussa, Nsabimana Hubert, Ndaye Chancel, Iddy Muselemu, Ndayisenga Elphase, Ndarusanze Jean-Claude.
Burundi Assistant coach: Juma Mossi
Djibouti XI: Innocent Mbonihaukoye (GK), Ahmed Youssouf, Mohamed Salem, Fouad Moussa, AbdoulKader Djama, Mohamed Bourhan (c), Ali Youssouf, Mahdi Houssein, Hamza Abdi, Yabe Said, Warsama Hassan
Subs: Nasradin Abdi (GK), Haroun Mohamed, Kassim AbdouRahman, Mohamed Fouad, Adeleh Ali (GK), Fahmi Moussa, Hassan Moussa, Saleh Bourhan
Djibouti Head coach: Julien Mette