Final shot for Amavubi Stars
2010 Africa Nations’ Cup qualifier
Rwanda v Zambia 3.30pm
Egypt v Algeria 7.30pm
AS the 2010 World/Africa Nations Cup qualifying campaign draws to a close this weekend, there is still everything to play for between Rwanda’s Amavubi Stars and Zambia’s Chipolopolo.
With Algeria and Egypt already on the plane to Angola in Group C, the two sides face-off at Amahoro stadium this afternoon, chasing for that remaining priceless ticket to next year’s Africa Nations Cup (CAN).
Both sides know exactly what is expected of them to qualify. While a draw or a 1-0 defeat is enough to see Zambia through, Amavubi need to win the encounter by a two-goal margin to realise their dream of making a second appearance in Africa’s most coveted football show piece.
Their only appearance came back in 2004 when they beat Ghana and Uganda to that elusive slot.
On paper, Amavubi are expected to press hard but the team’s head coach Tucak Branko knows that the team also has to keep it tight at the back because Zambia will be waiting to pounce on any opportunity that comes their way.
Amavubi have no choice but to throw everything they have at Zambia to, at the very least, win by two goals.
However, the team will have to do it without two of their star defenders Boubakary Saddou (fever) and Edwin Ouon (arm injury).
Today’s game could also be Tucak’s last as Amavubi boss. The 57-year-old was recently reminded by Sports and Culture minister Joseph Habineza that failure to qualify Rwanda would mark the end of his tenure as Wasps head coach.
But the bold Croat maintains that home pressure will not deter his team from qualifying.
“It is true that the boys will have some added pressure on them but I’m not worried because I know that there is enough quality in the team to see us through to Angola,” he said.
Chipolopolo head coach Herve Renard has meanwhile assured Zambians of qualification.
“It will be a close game but we should come through. We have a three-point cushion not forgetting that we also play well away from home,” the Frenchman said.
Algeria leads the group with 13 points. Egypt are second on 10 points, Zambia are third with four while Rwanda sits at the bottom with a solitary point.
Rwanda: Jean Luc Ndayishimiye, Kalisa Mao, Patrick Mafisango, Mbuyu Twite, Hamad Ndikumana, Jean Baptista Mugiraneza, Haruna Niyonzima, Louis Aniweta, Olivier Karekezi, Abbas Rassou and Donatien Tuyizere.
Zambia: Kennedy Mweene, Joseph Musonda, Thomas Nyirenda, Chintu Kampamba, Dennis Banda, William Njobvu, Felix Katongo, Noah Chivuta, Rainford Kalaba, Christopher Katongo and Given Singuluma.