Amavubi need win to boost hopes
2014 World Cup Qualifiers
Rwanda vs Benin 3pm
Mali vs Algeria
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The last time the two teams met at the same venue in 2009, it was the visitors who left smiling after registering a comprehensive 3-0 win but fast forward and Amavubi will be seeking to make even when they host the Squirrels in the 2014 World Cup qualifier this afternoon at Amahoro stadium.
Both teams had contrasting results in their respective last outings. Rwanda went down 4-0 in Blida against Algeria, while Benin shocked Mali 1-0 to go second on group H.
Benin will be boosted by the fact that they were the biggest climbers in this month’s FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. They are now ranked 72 while Rwanda dropped to 119.
Following a difficult past three weeks, Amavubi Stars’ head Coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojovic says the two-week training camp in North Africa and defeat to Algeria have given him a good insight into his squad.
The Serb tactician believes his team’s shortcomings which led to the defeat against Algeria have been dealt with during the past five days of rigorous training.
“We have re-enforced the squad with two players; Elias Uzamukunda and Steven Godfroid who have gone on to fit very well in the system,”
“The team spirit is high, the atmosphere in the camp is very positive and everyone is ready for the game,” said Micho, who is expected to make a couple of changes to the team which played against Algeria.
Needing to win to boost their chances of progressing to the next qualifying round, Micho noted how he has used the last five days to work on improving players’ mental aspect of their game as it is the one that seems to be lacking especially coming off a heavy defeat.
“We have learnt so many good lessons from the past three weeks and with that I believe we’ll be ready for the game on Sunday,” he added.
Playing against an experienced team which has quality players, most of whom play in Europe, Micho has cautioned Amavubi players to show a huge element of patience.
“We need to create spaces in our offensive play and with the huge frames of Benin players, it will be very hard but I believe that if we play the ball on the ground, we can create chances and score.”
The coach gave away very little in terms of his team selection but maintains that whatever team he puts out, will be ready to play with pride and determined to win in-front of the home supporters.
“We don’t need to play against Benin and result; we need to play against only Benin and the result will come. These players are determined to put right what went wrong against Algeria.”
Benin’s top marksman Razak Omotoyossi, the scorer against Mali last Sunday is confident about the Squirrels chances of making it two wins out two for the campaign.
The Nigerian born Beninese footballer has promised to continue with the same heroics today.
“We have played against Rwanda here and beaten them, so I think we can do it again. The coach has prepared us well and as long as the players give 100 percent, we are capable of going back home with three points,” noted the Zamalek forward.
Mali are up against Group H favourites Algeria in Ouagadougou this afternoon.
Contact email: bonnie.mugabe[at]newtimes.co.rw