Beharino Cleared to Play for Burundi

Berahino was a regular with England through the youth ranks, winning the 2010 under-17s European Championship, and was called up for the senior squad in November 2014.

But he never got on the pitch at that level – and Burundi have investigated whether he would be able to play for the country of his birth.

Berahino had travelled to England at the age of 10 to escape a civil war which had claimed the life of his father. He is now in the frame to make his international debut against Gabon next month in the run-up to the African Cup of Nations qualifying campaign.

Jérémie Manirakiza, general secretary of the Burundi Football Federation, said: “FIFA has authorized the Burundian international playing for Stoke City on July 25 to wear the jersey of the Burundian national team.

“Saido Berahino is an experienced player. Burundi will benefit enormously from its experience.”

Berahino has previously discussed his double allegiance.

He said in 2013: “Burundi is motherland to me. I will always be a Burundian regardless of what happens, even if I become a successful Premier League player. I will still have the Burundi culture in me.

“Playing for England is totally different. They have given me a second chance in life, provided my family with a different type of lifestyle.

“I feel very, very grateful to what England have done for me and my family. So, when I play for England, I play with passion and excitement, joy and desire to win.”

Source: Stoke Sentinel


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