The first African action in the coronavirus era involving Burundi’s Musongati FC and Athletico Olympic ended in a high-scoring 3-3 draw.
The match staged at Stade Ingoma in the capital city Gitega saw both teams fight and five goals were scored in the first half.
In front of a boisterous crowd, Musongati opened the scoring – a goal that will go down as the first African strike in a competitive league in the coronavirus pandemic era – in the 20th minute.
The visitors did not take long and equalised three minutes after going behind.
In the 28th minute, Musongati went ahead again but Athletico Olympic never surrendered and their fighting spirit saw them bring the score at par again in the 45th minute.
A minute was added in the first half and a Musongati’s goalscoring spirit saw them took the lead again just before the interval, but a hard-fighting Athletico Olympic restored parity in the second minute of the second half.
The draw had little impact on Musongati’s place on the Ligue A table as they maintained the second position but the addition of three goals to their goal account is welcomed. They have 52 points, three fewer than the leaders Le Messager Ngozi.
On the other hand, Athletico Olympic climbed up the table and are now ninth, above Inter Star and Rukinzo, on goal difference.
Bumamuru are eighth but a plus six-goal difference is what separates them from Athletico Olympic.
On May 30, Kayanzi United will host Les Lierres, Ngozi City will tackle Rukinzo as Inter Star play host to Vital’O.
Flambeau du Centre vs Aigle Noir will also take place on the same day as all matches have been scheduled to kick-off at 16:30 EAT.
On May 31, Le Messager Ngozi’s will host Dynamik as Bumamuru vs Olympic Star, Athletico Olympic vs Bujumbura City and Musongati vs Lydia Ludic will be the other matches, with kick-off at 16:30 EAT as well.
Resumption of matches in Burundi saw the country become the first in Africa to do so. They did so even though the majority of their regional neighbours have moved to cancel their leagues.
The Football Kenya Federation (FKF) was the first to cancel all leagues in the country as Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Uganda followed suit after they claimed it was untenable to restart activities due to the ongoing measures put in place to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Following President John Pombe Magufuli’s direction that all sports activities can resume from June 1, eyes are now on the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) on when they will schedule the fixtures ready for return.