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Gaël Bigirimana

Gaël Bigirimana

Burundian footballer
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Burundian footballer
A.K.A. Gael Bigirimana
Countries Burundi
Occupations Association football player
Gender male
Birth 22 October 1993 (Bujumbura)
Star sign Libra
Stats
Height: 173 cm
The details
Biography

Gaël Bigirimana (Kirundi pronunciation: [ɡaˈeːl βiɟiriˈmaːnaː]; born 22 October 1993) is a Burundian footballer who plays as a midfielder for Scottish club Motherwell.

Born in Burundi, Bigirimana moved to the United Kingdom with his family as a refugee in 2004 and chose to represent England at under-20 level in 2013, later representing his country of birth in 2015.

Club career

Coventry City

Bigirimana was born in Bujumbura, Burundi but moved to the United Kingdom with his family as a refugee in 2004, having spent time living in Uganda. He was taken on trial having asked at Coventry City's academy training facility.

Graduating from the Sky Blues' youth set-up to sign his first professional deal for the club in the summer of 2011 and playing a role the Sky Blues' first team pre-season preparations for the 2011–12 campaign, Bigirimana made his professional debut on 8 August 2011 in a 1–0 Championship defeat by Leicester City, playing the full 90 minutes.

On 12 March 2012, Bigirimana won the Championship Apprentice of the Year Award for the 2011–12 season. He beat Crystal Palace's Jonathan Williams and Reading's Jordan Obita to the award.

Newcastle United

On 6 July 2012, Bigirimana signed for Premier League club Newcastle United. United's website confirmed Bigirimana had signed a five-year contract for an undisclosed fee, believed to be between £500,000 and £1,000,000. His competitive debut came on 23 August 2012, in Newcastle's 1–1 draw with Greek side Atromitos, in their UEFA Europa League play-off round match, before making his home Premier League debut on 2 September 2012 in a 1–1 draw with Aston Villa as a substitute for the injured Danny Simpson. He scored his first professional goal on 3 December to complete a 3–0 home win against Wigan Athletic after two earlier goals by Demba Ba.

Rangers (loan)

On 2 February 2015, Bigirimana signed for Scottish Championship club Rangers F.C. on loan until the end of the 2014–15 season. He never made an appearance for the club due to an undisclosed medical condition, leading to the then Rangers manager Stuart McCall to suggest the club should never have signed him in the first place.

Coventry City (return)

On 16 November 2015, Bigirimana returned to Coventry City on an emergency loan until 3 January 2016. His loan was extended until 24 January, following five appearances in the league, with three of them starts. On 14 January, his loan was further extended until the end of the season, with no option to recall.

Ahead of the 2016-17 season, Bigirimana signed a one-year deal with Coventry City cancelling his contract with Newcastle United. He scored his first goal for Coventry in an EFL Trophy tie against Wycombe Wanderers on 9 November 2016. Bigirimana started and scored the first goal for Coventry in the 2016-17 EFL Trophy Final against Oxford United, which Coventry went on to win 2-1.

Motherwell

Bigirimana signed a two-year contract with Scottish Premiership club Motherwell in June 2017.

International career

In April 2012, Bigirimana announced that he would like to play for Rwanda at international level. He was later considered by Rwanda for the 2013 African Youth Championship qualification stage. In October, Bigirimana stated that he had rejected an international call-up from Burundi due to political instability in the country.

In May 2013, Bigirimana was called up to the provisional England squad for the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup. On 28 May 2013, he was named in the final squad by manager Peter Taylor. He made his debut on 16 June, in a 3–0 win in a warm-up game against Uruguay.

On 15 November 2015, Bigirimana made his debut for Burundi during the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification as a starter against DR Congo. The match finished 2–2 but FIFA awarded DR Congo a 3–0 win as a result of the fielding of Bigirimana, who was ineligible.

Personal life

Bigirimana was born in Bujumbura to a Burundian father and a Rwandan mother. He married during the 2016 summer to former Miss Coventry and law graduate, Natalia Leigh. Their first daughter was born on 1 April 2017, 24 hours before the final of the EFL trophy which Coventry won and Bigirimana scored.

Career statistics

As of match played 3 November 2018
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League National Cup League Cup Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Coventry City 2011–12 Championship 26 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 28 0
Newcastle United 2012–13 Premier League 13 1 1 0 1 0 9 0 24 1
2013–14 Premier League 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
2014–15 Premier League 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2015–16 Premier League 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 13 1 1 0 2 0 9 0 25 1
Rangers (loan) 2014–15 Scottish Championship 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Coventry City (loan) 2015–16 League One 13 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 13 0
Coventry City 2016–17 League One 30 0 3 0 0 0 7 2 39 2
Motherwell 2017–18 Scottish Premiership 27 1 3 0 6 1 0 0 36 2
2018–19 Scottish Premiership 10 1 0 0 2 0 0 0 12 1
Total 37 2 3 0 8 1 0 0 48 3
Career total 119 3 8 0 11 1 16 2 154 6

Honours

Individual

  • Championship Apprentice of the Year Award: 2011–12

Coventry City

  • EFL Trophy: 2016-17
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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References
http://resources.fifa.com/mm/document/tournament/competition/02/75/53/57/disciplinary_overview_fwc_final_feb2016_neutral.pdf
http://www.fifadata.com/document/FWYC/2013/pdf/FWYC_2013_SquadLists.pdf
http://www.skysports.com/football/news/11710/10553088/coventry-re-sign-newcastle-midfielder-gael-bigirimana-on-one-year-deal
http://www1.skysports.com/football/news/11678/7874625/Newcastle-bag-Bigirimana
http://www.thefa.com/england/mens-u20s/News/2013/provisional-world-cup-squad
http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/coventry-city-fc/coventry-city-fc-news/2012/07/06/coventry-city-gael-bigirimana-in-newcastle-united-talks-92746-31337086/
http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/newly-crowned-miss-coventry-following-3029345
http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/sport/football/football-news/top-award-coventry-city-starlet-3027783
http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/sport/football/football-news/wycombe-wanderers-2-coventry-city-12154020
http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/sport/football/gael-bigirimana-reveals-burning-desire-11876264#ICID=sharebar_facebook
http://www.newtimes.co.rw/news/index.php?i=14950&a=52024
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