RWANDA’S Amavubi Stars are desperate to make it up to their fans in the upcoming Orange Cecafa Challenge Cup.
According to the team’s interim head coach Eric Nshimiyimana, the team heads to Kenya with one mission, to win the two-week tournament which kicks off this Sunday.
“Our target is to win the regional tournament. We have a good mix of youth and experience but what is very satisfying is the hunger for success in the team,” Nshimiyimana, who is Amavubi’s stand in coach after Branko Tucak’s departure told Times Sport during the team’s morning drills at Ferwafa’s artificial turf.
Amavubi players are under pressure to win back the support of the home crowd after a disastrous showing in next year’s Nations Cup qualifiers.
To qualify for next year’s event, Rwanda needed to win Zambia’s Chipolopolo by a 2-0 margin. They went in favorites, as the game was at Amahoro but were frustratingly held to a goalless draw, missing out on a ticket to Angola.
Rwanda have won the regional title once in 1999 when Rwanda fielded two teams on home soil - Rwanda A and Rwanda B. the latter went on to beat Kenya 3-1 in the final.
For Nshimiyimana, who also doubles as AS Kigali head coach, the Challenge Cup is a good forum for him to prove that he can assume the role on a permanent basis.
Meanwhile, Mbuyu Twite (Eric Gasana) was yet to join the Amavubi camp by press time. The DR Congo born defender is recovering from a nagging injury he sustained against Zambia’s Chipolopolo.
This year, Amavubi are drawn in Group B alongside Somalia, Eritrea and Cosafa champions Zimbabwe.