New Amavubi coach seeks U-23 perfect start against Tz

International Friendly (Today) Tanzania vs Rwanda Rwandan football starts life without Stephen Constantine when the U-23 national team takes on Tanzania U-23 in a friendly game this afternoon at the CCM Kirumba stadium in Mwanza.
Amavubi Interim coach Lee Johnson (R) takes the national team through training drills recently. (Courtesy)
Amavubi Interim coach Lee Johnson (R) takes the national team through training drills recently. (Courtesy)

International Friendly (Today)

Tanzania vs Rwanda

Rwandan football starts life without Stephen Constantine when the U-23 national team takes on Tanzania U-23 in a friendly game this afternoon at the CCM Kirumba stadium in Mwanza.

Interim head coach Lee Johnson has admitted an away victory against Taifa Stars will be an ideal start to his temporary reign at the helm of the national football team, as he prepares the Junior Wasps for the Rio 2016 Olympic qualifier against Somalia in March.

I am impressed with what I saw in training. The lads have been up to the task and the team I have selected is a combination of experienced players as well as younger players who will be getting the necessary exposure at this level,” Johnson said.

Today’s encounter marks the comeback of Amavubi captain Haruna Niyonzima who returns to the national team fold for the first time since that memorable victory against Republic of Congo during the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers last August in Kigali.

“Haruna brings a lot of experience to the squad and this will rub off well for the younger players. The fact that he plays for Young Africans (of Tanzania) will be important too because he knows some of our opponents. He plays at the top level in Tanzania and that is good for us,” said a confident Johnson.

Niyonzima trained with the team last evening and Johnson, who also included centre back Ismail Nshutiyamagara and defensive midfielder Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza in the squad as the overage players alongside Niyonzima, is relishing the pre-eminence the trio adds to the youthful squad.

With Amavubi senior side regulars goalkeeper Olivier Kwizera, Emery Bayisenge, Michel Rusheshangoga and Andrew Buteera all in the team, Johnson’s side is expected to put up a tough challenge against Mart Nooij’s side.

“I met Mart Nooij in Cairo (Egypt) last year at a Caf coaches’ course and I know coaches from the Netherlands like to play the 4-4-3 formation, so we are ready to approach the game from that point of view,” the Britton said of his Dutch counterpart.

He added: “We trained at the Amahoro stadium because the pitch is similar to the natural field in the Mwanza stadium where the game will be played.”

Meanwhile Johnson dropped midfielder Robert Ndatimana and striker Ernest Sugira as well as Danny Usengimana, Kevin Muhire, Steven Ntalibi, Emmanuel Imanishimwe and Vedaste Niyibizi.

Amavubi squad: Marcel Nzarora, Olivier Kwizera, Michel Rusheshangoga, Janvier Mutijima, Emery Bayisenge, Ismail Nshutiyamagara, Andrew Buteera, Yannick Mukunzi, Bertrand Iradukunda, Soter Kayumba, Issa Bigirimana, Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza, Haruna Niyonzima, Fitina Omborenga, Sibomana Patrick, Maxime Sekamana, Justin Mico, Rachid Kalisa.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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