Rebel players recalled for Bahrain friendly

December 26 Bahrain  v   Rwanda National football team coach Tucak Branko has pardoned the team’s trio of Jean Lomami, Patrick Mafisango and Elias Ntaganda and recalled them to the team that is preparing to face Persian Gulf state of Bahrain on Boxing Day.
L-R: RECALLED: Elias Ntaganda, PARDONED: Mafisango.
L-R: RECALLED: Elias Ntaganda, PARDONED: Mafisango.

December 26

Bahrain  v   Rwanda

National football team coach Tucak Branko has pardoned the team’s trio of Jean Lomami, Patrick Mafisango and Elias Ntaganda and recalled them to the team that is preparing to face Persian Gulf state of Bahrain on Boxing Day.

The Amavubi Stars’ will use the game as preparation   for the forthcoming 32nd edition of Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup due in Kampala, Uganda from December 31-January 13. The trio had been dropped from the team on the account of poor discpline.

According to a source in Ferwafa, these players behaved contrary to the team’s code of conduct during their international friendly last month in Lome, Togo.

Rwanda went on to lose the game 1-0. The pardon comes after a series of meetings held over the weekend. By press time, it was only Ntaganda who had reported to the team’s camp.

Ferwafa Chief Executive Officer Jules Kalisa told Times Sport yesterday that the Amavubi Stars are expected to play the build up against Bahrain to help Branko assess his squad ahead of the two week regional tournament.

“We chose to play against Bahrain because it’s ranked 74 on Fifa rankings and should give us a good test ahead of Cecafa,” Kalisa said.

The friendly match between Rwanda ranked 87th and Bahrain is aimed at adding steel to the national team ahead of a tough Cecafa campaign.

Amavubi Stars will depart for Bahrain on December 24, two days before the friendly. However according to Gulf Daily News, Bahrain is also set to play a friendly game against China.

National team manager Hassan Khalfan revealed that the Bahrain Football Association has sent a letter to the Chinese federation, requesting a friendly match at the National Stadium in Riffa on December 26 the same day that a letter to Ferwafa states.

The team was originally scheduled to play Syria on that date, but the match has been moved to December 29, according to Khalfan.

Bahrain’s friendly against Saudi Arabia, on December 23, will push through. The tune-up games are part of Bahrain’s preparations for the 19th Gulf Cup football competition in Oman, which will be held next month.

The Gulf Cup is a biennial multi-sport championship and is one of the most important events for GCC teams. Along with Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, and hosts Oman, Iraq and Yemen are taking part in the competition.

Bahrain was losing semi-finalists in the Cup’s previous edition held last year in the UAE.

Rwanda, last year’s beaten finalists start this year’s Cecafa campaign against archrivals and tournament hosts Uganda Cranes on New Year’s Day at Namboole Stadium.

Amavubi Stars, were drawn in group A alongside Tanzania, Zanzibar and perennial whipping boys Somalia.

Group B has defending champions Sudan, Kenya, Burundi, Eritrea and Djibouti and their matches will be based at Bugembe stadium in Jinja.

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