2014 World Cup Qualifier
Benin vs Rwanda
Algeria vs Benin
Foreign-based stars Haruna Niyonzima and Salomon Nirisarike are the latest players to join Amavubi Stars camp as the national team prepares to play away to Benin in the final Group H World Cup qualifier match due this Sunday in Porto Novo.
According to team manager Alfred Ngarambe, Haruna, who plies his trade with Tanzanian league champions Young Africans, joined camp last night, while Nirisarike who plays for Belgium’s second tier club Antweerp, is expected to arrive in Kigali this evening aboard SN Brussels.
The two are the only professional players that were expected following the retirement of former skipper Olivier Karekezi last month.
Karekezi retired from international football after a 13-year career with the national team in which he scored a record 25 goals in 53 appearances.
Karekezi’s last international match was during the 1-0 loss to Algeria in May and he had been called up for the upcoming Benin game.
Former Etincelles starlet Niyonzima, now the most experienced member of the current team, will take the mantle from Karekezi.
The team has also been boosted with the return of striker Meddie Kagere, who has been on trials with Lebanese Premier League side Safa Sporting Club.
Kagere, who has been unsettled since his contract with Police FC ended mid this year, is expected to put pen to paper to a one-year contract with Safa Sporting Club next week.
With no hopes of progressing to the play-offs of the 2014 World Cup qualifying, Eric Nshimiyimana’s side head to Porto Novo with only pride and better Fifa rankings to play for.
Amavubi won on their last visit to Benin two years ago when Kagere scored the solitary goal in the 1-0 victory on his debut.
Algeria top Group H with 12 points and are through to the next round of the qualifiers, while second-placed Mali are four points adrift with a game still to be played.
Benin are in third with five points with Rwanda placed at the bottom of the standings with a paltry two points.