The New Times (Kigali)

4 December 2012

Rwanda: Bigirimana Scores His First Goal for Newcastle

GAEL Bigirimana became the first player from the Cecafa region to score in the English Premier League after netting Newcastle United's third goal in the 3-0 win over Wigan Athletic on Monday night at St James Park.

Born in Burundi to a Burundian father and a Rwandan mother, the 18-year old midfielder moved to the United Kingdom with his a family when he was 11 years.

He qualifies to play for both Burundi and Rwanda by virtue of his parents, but until now, he hasn't made up his mind on where he would commit his international allegiance bearing in mind that a strong progress in his game could open up a chance to play for England.

The Coventry City academy product was in Rwanda about two years ago and apparently held preliminary talks with officials in the local football governing body, Ferwafa-however, the outcome of those talks have, until now remained a top secret.

Bigirimana, who replaced Ivorian Cheik Tiote at half-time, scored his first Newcastle goal since his surprise transfer from Coventry City in July for a reported 1 million Pounds deal.

The young midfielder received possession midway in the Wigan half, advanced, checked on to his left foot and sent a superb, rising shot beyond keeper Ali al-Habsi, to become the first player from this part of Africa not only to score but also play in the Premier League.

Kenyan Mcdonald Mariga, at Inter Milan, had the chance to set that record when Manchester City put a bid for him, but despite passing the medical, his transfer never came to pass, thanks to Kenya's low status in Fifa world ranking.

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