CAF U-20 qualifier
Kenya 1-1 Rwanda
The National U20 team, ‘Junior Wasps’, held Kenya’s U20 to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the 2019 U-20 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier yesterday at Machakos Stadium in Kenya.
Kenya scored first in the 6th minute through forward Richard Odaga but APR striker Lague Byiringiro rescued the visitors in the final minutes of the match with a brilliant sole effort that saw him navigate past three defenders.
The first half saw both teams have few chances as the junior wasps controlled possession without any real threat while the hosts were happy to sit back.
It was more or less of the same story in the second period with Kenya having a chance three minutes into the restart. Sidney Lokale picked up a long ball inside the box but his shot on the turn under pressure from a defender was weak.
But the junior wasps were the more attacking side and they came close with Christian Ishimwe’s curling effort from a freekick in the 72nd minute missing the target by a whisker. Byiringiro then forced a fine save off the Kenyan keeper at his near post after skipping away from his markers on the right before shooting at goal.
The resilience however paid off with just two minutes of regular time to play when from a counter attack, the winger rounded the keeper to slot home.
The team returns today and will continue to prepare for the return leg on April 21 at Kigali Stadium. Rwanda needs only a goalless draw to progress to the next round.
If Rwanda progresses, they will book a date with Zambia in the second round in May.
The final qualifying round will be staged in July with the winner earning slots to next year’s Africa U-20 Cup of Nations finals tournament in Niger.
Seven teams will emerge from the qualifiers to join host Niger for the final tournament scheduled for 2-17 February 2019.