2010 WC/Africa qualifiers
Ethiopia v Rwanda
Mauritania v Morocco
Rwanda’s Amavubi Stars departs today for their crucial group eight 2010 World Cup/Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Ethiopia.
The 30-man delegation leaves Kigali international airport this afternoon aboard Ethiopia airlines ahead of tomorrow’s second group eight qualifier in Addis Ababa.
Ferwafa secretary general, Jules Kalisa who is head of the Rwandan delegation said yesterday that the team late departure to Ethiopia was decided by head coach Tucak Blanko.
He noted the Croat insisted on travelling late because, according to him, it’s not good for a team to spend over two days in an area of high altitude like Ethiopia ahead of such a big game.
But the former El Hilal coach defended his decision, “Going to Ethiopia on Saturday will reduce on the possible effects the players would face while there because of the weather conditions they are not used to.”
The team will play on Sunday and return back the following afternoon by Ethiopia Airlines.
Addressing what is becoming his usual press conference on Thursday at Ferwafa headquarters ahead of match, Blanko refused to discuss his travelling squad, insisting that he will only reveal it today before the team’s departure.
“I need to take my time when selecting a team that I think can win matches. I have a few injuries and naming the squad at this time would not be a good idea,” the Croat said on Thursday.
Emphasizing his decision of not naming his final squad early, the adamant Blanko noted, “I need to know whether Hamad (Ndikumana), Sadou (Boubakary) and Mafisango (Patrick) are free from their minor injuries before I name the final squad.”
Ndikumana and Sadou suffered ankle injuries while Mafisango got a knock during Wednesday’s morning training session, though the injuries didn’t look bad then.
Amavubi and Morocco led group eight with three points each after identical 3-0 wins over Mauritania in Kigali and Ethiopia in Casablanca on the opening weekend of the qualifying campaign.
However, Ethiopia has a good record over Rwanda, something which should give Blanko every reason to not take anything for granted ahead of tomorrow’s clash.
Blanko’s side could benefit from the fact that Ethiopia will be without their most influential players and captain, Fikru Tefera who was sent off in the 3-0 loss to Casablanca.
Tefera, who features for South Africa Premier side Super Sport United, has been a menacing figure for his country against the Amavubi Stars.
In a related development, Kenya’s trio of centre referee Alfred Ndinya and assistant referees Peter Kiereini and Sylvester Musonye have been named by the world football body, Fifa to officiate the Rwanda qualifier game against Ethiopia.