Berahino switches international allegiance to Burundi

Stoke City FC’s Saido Berahino is eligible to play for Burundi in next month’s African Cup of Nations qualifiers after world football governing body FIFA approved his application to switch international allegiance, the country’s football federation said.

The 25-year-old has in the past featured for England internationally in the under-21 category, but he applied for the change after his chances of winning a full England cap receded.

He had previously turned down approaches from Burundi.

He is now free to make his debut for Burundi in next month against Gabon.

Berahino was born in the East African country, but he fled as a 10-year-old with his mother and siblings in the wake of the ethnic conflict that rocked the nation. He was granted political asylum in Britain, where he grew up.

FIFA allows players to switch allegiance as long as they have not played a competitive senior international and have the nationality of the country they want to represent.

Burundi is grouped alongside South Sudan, Mali and Gabon in the AFCON qualifiers.