The tiny central African country secured a first appearance
at the expense of favoured Gabon despite drawing four of six qualifiers.
Algeria-based Abdul Razak starred with six goals at an average of one per match – a total bettered only by Ighalo, who netted seven times.
But having tormented the defences of Mali, Gabon and South
Sudan, can he wreak more havoc against the stronger Nigerian and Guinean
Olivier Niyungeko, who has succeeded where a string of
foreign coaches failed, chose Burundians based in 13 countries and also picked
one local, goalkeeper Jonathan Nahimana.
Goalkeepers: MacArthur Arakaza, Justin Ndikumana (both
Sofapaka/KEN), Jonathan Nahimana (Vital’O)
Defenders: Omar Moussa (Sofapaka/KEN), Christophe
Nduwarugira (Uniao Madeira/POR), Omar Ngando (Kigali/RWA), Abdoul Karim
Nizigiymana (Vipers/UGA), Frederic Nsabiyumva (Chippa Utd/RSA), David
Nshimirimana (Mukura Victory/RWA)
Midfielders: Gael Bigirimana (unattached), Gael Duhayindavyi
(Mukura Victory/RWA), Pierre Kwizera (Al-Orouba/OMA), Shassir Nahimana
(Al-Mujazzal/KSA), Enock Nsabumukama (Zesco Utd/ZAM), Hussein Shabani
Forwards: Cedric Amissi (Al-Taawoun/KSA), Mohamed Amissi
(NAC Breda/NED), Saido Berahino (Stoke City/ENG), Elvis Kasomba (Melbourne
Victory/AUS), Laudit Mavugo (Napsa Stars/ZAM), Francis Mustafa (Gor Mahia/KEN),
Selemani Yamini Ndikumana (Al-Adalh/KSA), Fiston Abdul Razak (JS Kabylie/ALG)
Like Burundi, the Indian Ocean islanders who are making
their Cup of Nations debut will eye third place and qualification as one of the
four best teams in that position.
French coach Nicolas Dupuis has worked wonders with a side
that got to Egypt by finishing above Equatorial Guinea and Sudan, and he also
coaches a lower-league club in his homeland.
He believes practice makes perfect, saying: “Madagascar
used to play three or four matches a year and were going nowhere. We now make
full use of every international window.”
Dupuis has also convinced France-born Thomas Fontaine,
Romain Metanire, Jerome Mombris and Jeremy Morel to represent a country they
are linked to through parents or grandparents.
Goalkeepers: Melvin Andrien (Martigues/FRA), Ibrahima Dabo
(Gobelins/FRA), Jean Randrianasolo (CNaPS Sport)
Defenders: Mamy Randrianarisoa, Pascal Razakanantenaina
(both St Pierroise/REU), Dimitry Caloin (Les Herbiers/FRA), Thomas Fontaine
(Reims/FRA), Romain Metanire (Minnesota Utd/USA),Jerome Mombris (Grenoble/FRA),
Jeremy Morel (Lyon/FRA), Toaviina Rambeloson(Arras/FRA)
Midfielders: Ibrahim Amada (Mouloudia Alger/ALG), Anicet
Andriamiraldo Andrianarimanana (Kaizer Chiefs/RSA), Marco Ilaimaharitra
(Charleroi/BEL), Lalaina Nomenjanahary (Paris FC/FRA), Jean Rakotoarisoa (Fosa
Juniors), Rayan Raveloson (Troyes/FRA)
Forwards: Charles Andriamatsinoro (Al Aldalh/KSA), Faneva
Andriatsima (Clermont/FRA), William Gros (Vitre/FRA), Njiva Rakotoharimalala
(Samut Sakhon/THA), Paulin Voavy (Misr Lel Makasa/EGY)
A squad coached by Belgian Paul Put hope poor dress
rehearsals will be transformed into a grand opening night against Madagascar.
Warm-up losses to lower-ranked opponents the Gambia and
Benin in Morocco could sow self doubts and there has also been the distraction
of injured midfield star Naby Keita.
He injured a thigh playing for Liverpool at Barcelona in the
Champions League semi-finals and admits to “not yet being fully fit”.
Put, who took outsiders Burkina Faso to the 2013 final, will
expect a lot from Ibrahima Traore, a winger based in Germany whose footwork can
bewilder even the tightest defences.
Goalkeepers: Aly Keita (Ostersunds/SWE), Ibrahima Kone
(Pau/FRA), Naby Yattara(Excelsior/REU)
Defenders: Fode Camara (Ajaccio/FRA), Mikael Dyrestam
(Xanthi/GRE), Simon Falette (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER), Julian Jeanvier
(Brentford/ENG), Ernest Seka (Nancy/FRA), Ousmane Sidibe (Beziers/FRA), Issiaga
Sylla (Toulouse/FRA), Baissama Sankoh (Caen/FRA)
Midfielders: Mady Camara (Olympiacos/GRE), Ibrahima Cisse
(Fulham/ENG), Amadou Diawara (Napoli/ITA), Boubacar Fofana (Gaz Metan/ROM),
Naby Keita (Liverpool/ENG)
Forwards: Sory Kaba (Dijon/FRA), François Kamano
(Bordeaux/FRA), Jose Kante (Gimnastic Tarragona/ESP), Fode Koita
(Kasimpasa/TUR), Ibrahima Traore (Borussia Moenchengladbach/GER),Mohamed
Yattara (Auxerre/FRA), Idrissa Sylla (Zulte Waregem/BEL)
The three-time champions are back at the Cup of Nations
after unexpectedly lifting the trophy in 2013 and then failing to qualify for
the next two editions.
They should take advantage of a kind draw and cruise into
the second round, but Nigerian supporters will expect much more from a team
coached by experienced German Gernot Rohr.
When the Cup of Nations was last staged by Egypt in 2006,
the Super Eagles finished third behind the host nation and the Ivory Coast.
Apart from former Watford forward Ighalo, Spain-based Samuel
Chukwueze could be a major threat having scored regularly for Villarreal in La
Liga last season.
Goalkeepers: Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs/RSA), Ikechukwu
Ezenwa (Katsina Utd), Francis Uzoho (Anorthosis Famagusta/CYP)
Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Torino/ITA), Chidozie Awaziem
(Caykur Rizespor/TUR), Leon Balogun (Brighton/ENG), Jamilu Collins
(Paderborn/GER), William Ekong (Udinese/ITA), Kenneth Omeruo (Leganes/ESP),
Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor/TUR)
Midfielders: Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City/ENG), John Obi
Mikel (Middlesbrough/ENG), Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City/ENG), John Ogu (Hapoel
Forwards: Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal/ESP), Odion Ighalo
(Shanghai Shenhua/CHN), Alex Iwobi (Arsenal/ENG), Samuel Kalu (Bordeaux/FRA),
Ahmed Musa (Al Nassr/KSA), Paul Onuachu (Midtjyland/DEN), Henry Onyekuru
(Galatasaray/TUR), Victor Osimhen (Royal Charleroi/BEL), Moses Simon