Sadio Berahino could ditch England to represent Burundi
Berahino played regularly with England through the youth ranks, winning the 2010 under-17s European Championship.
He was called up for the senior squad in November 2014, but didn’t play, meaning he can still represent the country of his birth.
The Burundi FA announced it has gained clearance to call up the 24-year-old striker after they investigated whether he would be able to play for them.
Burundi had to provide FIFA with Berahino’s passport, birth certificate and evidence that he had not played at senior level for England.
Berahino fled Burundi at the age of 10 to escape civil war which had claimed the life of his father and currently he is in line for his first cap for Burundi.
He could make his debut for the African nation when they face Gabon next month in the 2019 African Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Jérémie Manirakiza, general secretary of the Burundi Football Federation, is satisfied with FIFA’s decision, saying: “Saido Berahino is an experienced player. Burundi will benefit enormously from its experience.”
Berahino has also previously discussed his Burundian descent in 2013, saying: “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,” he added.
Burundi are currently 148th in the FIFA rankings, and have never qualified for an Africa Cup of Nations or a World Cup before.
However, they have a chance to qualify for the 2019 AFCON after winning their first game 3-0 against South Sudan. Gabon and Mali are the other two teams in their group.
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