Aug. 12: First leg
Uganda vs Rwanda
Aug. 19: Second leg
Rwanda Vs Uganda
Rwanda national football team have kicked off their preparations for the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) third round qualifier, first leg against Uganda that will be staged at St. Mary’s Kitende Stadium in Kampala.
Antoine Hey’s Amavubi started training on Monday afternoon at Kigali Stadium in Nyamirambo with a provisional squad of 22 players. The team are staying at Golden Tulip hotel in Nyamata, Bugesera District.
Uganda will host the first leg clash on August 12, while the second leg will be played a week later in at Kigali Stadium.
Hey admitted that, “We are happy we have reached the next round but we need to be well prepared for the next game. It was important for us to get to the next round, which we know will be even tougher. Uganda poses a different challenge to what Tanzania offered.”
The aggregate winner from both legs will then advance to the 2018 CHAN finals that will be hosted in Kenya.
“We are playing at home in under four weeks against Uganda but we need to prepare well for the first leg in Kampala, were we want to get a positive result that would set us up well for the second leg.”
“Hopefully, in the second leg, the crowd will be behind us to help us achieve our target, because this young team cannot do it alone, they need the entire country to be behind them,” he stated.
Hey has added five new faces to the team that eliminated Tanzania in the last round. The new players include; right-back Saddam Nyandwi, who joined Rayon Sports recently from Espoir FC, centre-back Ange Mutsinzi (Rayon Sports), and Police FC striker Christophe ‘Abeddy’ Biramahire.
Others are, APR midfielder Imran Nshimiyimana and APR goalkeeper Yves Kimenyi who will replace team captain Eric ‘Bakame’ Ndayishimiye, who will miss the first leg because he has two yellow cards.
However, Ndayishimiye has been named in the provisional squad as Hey plans to use him for the second leg.
Rwanda eliminated Tanzania on 1-1 aggregate following a goalless draw in the second leg, while Uganda, who have just lost their head coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic (formerly in charge of Amavubi), knocked out South Sudan 5-1 on aggregate.
The Amavubi team missed out on the inaugural tournament in 2009 but went on to feature in the Sudan edition in 2011 and last year in Rwanda 2016.
Goalkeepers: Marcel Nzarora (Police FC), Eric ‘Bakame’ Ndayishimiye (Rayon Sports) and Yves Kimenyi (APR FC).
Defenders: Aimable Nsabimana (APR), Ange Mutsinzi (Rayon Sports), Thierry Manzi (Rayon Sports), Aimable Rucogoza (Bugesera FC) Soter Kayumba (AS Kigali) and Ratif Bishira (AS Kigali), Emmanuel Imanishimwe (APR), Saddam Nyandwi (Rayon Sports), Jean Marie Muvandimwe (Police) and Eric Iradukunda (AS Kigali).
Midfielders: Imran Nshimiyimana (APR), Djihad Bizimana (APR), Yanick Mukunzi (APR) and Oliver Niyonzima (Rayon Sports)
Forwards: Innocent Nshuti (APR), Bernabe Mubumbyi (AS Kigali) Dominique Savio Nshuti (AS Kigali), Christophe Biramahire (Police FC) and Kevin Muhire (Rayon Sports).