Amavubi skipper Niyonzima urges fans to be patient

Rwanda national team captain Haruna Niyonzima has urged football fans to exercise patience, at least in the short term as the team continues to develop.
Midfielder Yannick Mukunzi tries to pull a way from a challenge by defender Michel Rusheshangoga on Wednesday at Amahoro stadium. (Sam Ngendahimana)
Midfielder Yannick Mukunzi tries to pull a way from a challenge by defender Michel Rusheshangoga on Wednesday at Amahoro stadium. (Sam Ngendahimana)

Sept. 3

Group H

Ghana                  vs      Rwanda

Mozambique     vs      Mauritius

Rwanda national team captain Haruna Niyonzima has urged football fans to exercise patience, at least in the short term as the team continues to develop.

The 27-year-old playmaker was responding to a question about Amavubi’s continued poor performance at the international level.

In his response, using the example of the stages in human development, Haruna explained that patience from fans will motivate the national team. “When a baby is born, they don’t immediately walk,” the Tanzania-based player said.

He added: “In life we have to be patient, let us continue to build our team, let the players be given time to get used to each other, there are so many young players. It’s not easy but in the future we can get to that glory.”

The Yanga captain, who has played under 17 coaches for both club and country, pointed out that, “If someone is given a job, let us give him the time, trust and support to develop the national team.”

Rwanda, under interim coaching staff led by Jimmy Mulisa and assisted by Vincent Mashami and Thomas Higiro (goalkeeping coach), will face Ghana in the 2017 African Cup of Nations Gabon final day qualifier this Saturday at Accra Sports Stadium.

The Black Stars won the corresponding fixture 1-0, courtesy of midfielder Mubarak Wakaso’s late free-kick in Kigali last year.

Amavubi blew their chances to book a ticket to AFCON 2017 following two defeats to Mauritius 1-0 in Belle Vue in March, and 2-3 loss to Mozambique in Kigali, in June.

Amavubi lost six points that would have carried their score to 12 to be among the few nations fighting for best second place in 11 qualifying groups.

Rwanda also suffered a disappointing early exit from the 2018 World Cup qualifying following a 3-1 defeat to Libya in the second leg in Kigali, last November.

The team’s global FIFA rankings plummeted to 121st in August, the worst since November 1997, which partly led to the sacking of Johnny McKinstry two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, interim head coach Mulisa, who was part of the team that beat Ghana to qualify for AfCON 2004 in Tunisia, named his final squad on Wednesday – the team flew to Accra on Thursday afternoon aboard a RwandAir flight.

The squad includes two goalkeepers, seven defenders, seven midfielders while the attacking force will be spearheaded by AS Vita striker Ernest Sugira and Gor Mahia marksman Jacques Tuyisenge.

Rwanda sit in second place in Group H tied on six points with Mauritius, which will travel to Maputo to face bottom-placed Mozambique with have four points. Ghana are top of the table standings with 13 points and have already secured a ticket to Gabon finals tournament next January.

The full squad

Goalkeepers: Eric Ndayishimiye (Rayon Sports) and Marcel Nzarora (Police).

Defenders: Emmanuel Imanishimwe (APR), Faustin Usengimana (APR), Michel Rusheshangoga (APR), Fiston Munezero (Rayon Sports), Celestin Ndayishimiye (Mukura VS), Helve Rugwiro (APR) and Thierry Manzi (Rayon Sports).

Midfielders: Yanick Mukunzi (APR), Ally Niyonzima (Mukura VS), Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza (Azam FC), Haruna Niyonzima (Yanga)) and Muhadjir Hakizimana (APR).

Forwards: Savio Dominique Nshuti (Rayon Sports), Innocent Habyarimana (APR), Ernest Sugira (AS Vital Club) and Jacques Tuyisenge (Gor Mahia).

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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