FOR Rwanda to stage good performances in the upcoming 2015 Africa Nations Cup qualifiers, Amavubi Stars need to engage in more friendly matches, head coach Eric Nshimiyimana has said.
Nshimiyimana made the remarks after Rwanda put up a spirited performance to hold hosts Burundi to a 1-all draw in an international friendly played on Wednesday in Bujumbura.
APR striker Michel Ndahinduka put Amavubi Stars ahead in the 18th minute before Croatia-based Saido Ntibazonkiza equalised for the Swallows at the half hour mark.
The match was Amavubi’s first competitive game of the year and the draw was Nshimiyimana’s first step toward convincing his bosses that he deserves a renewal of his contract which ends this month, along with his assistant Jean Baptiste Kayiranga.
“We played a good game against Burundi and this is just the beginning. We need more matches in order for our boys to have experience and gain exposure at the international level such that we can be able to stage better performances in the upcoming qualifiers,” Nshimiyimana told Times Sport yesterday.
“A draw against Burundi, who are ranked higher than Rwanda is not enough to test the character of our players. If we could have more friendly matches with top ranked nations, the better for our improvement,” the coach explained before adding, “But I certainly believe we are on the right path and if we can maintain this momentum, then we will build a strong team for the future because these youngsters have expressed the desire and will to well for their country.”
The former APR and Isonga tactician has a lot of work to undertake before the Morocco qualifiers kick off in April. Though Amavubi look relatively strong in defence and midfield, more work needs to be done on the attacking side.
The coach added, “Our main objective is to build a strong team not individuals and we seem to be going the right way. We have also helped them improve on their confidence and this can be noticed on the way they played against Burundi.”
Amavubi will have 20 days to know their opponents in the second round of qualification of the 2015 Afcon qualifiers. The draw for the first round will see Mauritania play against Mauritius while Eritrea faces south Sudan.
The winners over two legs in the first round will join 26 teams to engage in two legged fixtures (2nd round) with 14 teams advancing to the third round to be played over two legs as well.
The draw for the knock out stages (second round and Third round) and the group stage will be held on April 27 in Cairo, Egypt.