Tucak promises to revive Rwanda’s fading hopes
World/Africa Nations Cup Qualifier
Rwanda v Egypt (Today)
Algeria v Zambia (Sunday)
AFTER weeks of preparation, it’s time for Rwanda and Egypt to reap what they have been sowing.
The two sides face off this afternoon in a crunch 2010 World/ Africa Nations Cup. It is plain clear what is at stake for both sides.
While Rwanda crave for a win to revive their chances of qualifying for the 2010 Africa Nations Cup in Angola, Egypt, who have six African titles but only made two World Cup appearances need a win to close in on Group C leaders Algeria.
While many have already brushed off Rwanda’s World Cup dream, Amavubi head coach Branko Tucak refuses to take a similar path.
In his pre-match interview on Thursday, the Croat said that after a successful build-up and training sessions, the door is still wide open for Rwanda to make the trip to South Africa.
“We have prepared well for this game and hope to get the result we want on Saturday. People have counted us off but like I have always said, there is still a mathematical chance of us qualifying.”
“But we have to start by winning Egypt and then collecting wins from Zambia and Algeria. It is not going to be easy but we are prepared to fight,” Tucak noted.
The 57-year-old tactician will however have to negotiate Amavubi’s hurdle without his first choice midfielders.
Patrick Mafisango and Mbuyu Twite are suspended while Jean Baptist Mugiraneza ‘Migi’ is ruled out after failing to recover from a toe injury.
Branko has also opted to partner the in-form Jimmy Gatete with Said Abed Makasi upfront as he looks to solve Amavubi’s scoring woes.
Rwanda is yet to score a goal in the third and final qualification campaign.After a good run in the first and second qualification rounds, Amavubi’s form has taken a down slide in the third and final round.
The team is at the foot of Group C after managing a sole point from a possible nine.
Amavubi’s shaky run started off with a goalless home draw against Algeria but souring after back to back defeats against Zambia (0-1) and Egypt (0-3).
Algeria tops the group standings with seven points, three more than Egypt and Zambia, who are tied on four points.
Egypt’s head coach Hassan Shehata also has problems of his own. Without three of his lethal strikers Amr Zaki, Mohamed Zidan and Mido, he will look onto his experienced midfield trio Mohamed Aboutrika, Mohamed Barakat and skipper Ahmed Hassan to spur on the side whose last World Cup appearance came 19 years ago in Italy.
Else where, Ghana could become the first African qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup this weekend.
The Black Stars need other results to go their way, but by Sunday night, the ticket to South Africa could be booked. But Cameroon needs maximum points to keep alive hopes of reaching South Africa.
Nigeria and Tunisia go head-to-head for the lead in Group B, and Ivory Coast can close to within a point of qualification as winners of Group E.
Rwanda: Jean Claude Ndoli, Edwin Ouon, Hamad Ndikumana, Didier Kapet Kouin, Boubacar Saddou, Louis Aniweta, Haruna Niyonzima, Donatien Tuyizere, Olivier Karekezi, Said Abed Makasi and Jimmy Gatete
Egypt: Essam El-Hadary, Wael Gomaa, Ahmed Fathi, Sayed Moawad, Ahmed Al-Muhammadi, Mohamed Abou-trika, Mohamed Barakat, Hosni Abd-Rabou, Mohamed Shawky, Al-Sayed Hamdi, Ahmed Raouf