Burundi midfielder Gael Bigirimana says he had dreamed and planned of playing for England when he moved to Europe as a young kid, fleeing from the war in his home decades ago.
But, Bigirimana has found himself taking a different route and is currently pulling the strings for Les Hirondelles at the Total Africa Cup of Nations Egypt 2019, the first ever appearance at the flagship African football competition.
The hugely religious Bigirimana says him being in Cairo with the Egyptian team has been a divine plan.
“My thoughts and my intention was to play for England when I went abroad. That is what I wished for and that is what I worked for but God had other plans and I would rather be in his plans than my own,” Bigirimana who started playing for Burundi in 2015 told CAFOnline.com.
“I was called up to the Under-20 team World Cup in 2013 and I ended up playing only six minutes and from then I knew I had to make a decision. My destiny was probably to play for Burundi, and not for England.”
The 25-year old made the decision to play for Burundi in 2015 and four years later played a crucial role in the team’s qualification to their first ever AFCON, something he says will forever be stained in his memory.
“It’s as big as anybody can see. It’s a huge tournament and for us to be here for the very first time is a memory that will never fade; it will never die. We saw how much it meant to the country when we qualified and the feeling we have being here is so big,” he stated.
Had he dreamed that a day like this would ever come?