Zambia 2-0 Rwanda
Newly appointed Amavubi head coach Johnny McKinstry started his Amavubi reign on the wrong foot after the wasps were defeated by Zambia in an international friendly, yesterday, at the National Heroes stadium in Lusaka.
Rainford Kalaba netted from inside the box in the 61st minute beating goalkeeper Olivier Kwizera who started ahead of second choice Jean Luc Ndayishimiye as first choice Jean Claude Ndoli recovers from a knee injury.
Substitute Allan Mukuka sent a well taken cross from the right flank that met the alert Kalaba who found the back of the net to finally break the deadlock and give Chipolopolo the lead.
Mukuka added to his brilliant performance on the day with a superb strike in the 82nd minute to give the home side a 2-0 lead that eventually handed Janza’s men victory in their first encounter since elimination from the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea at the group stage level.
McKinstry named a ‘new look’ Amavubi team with youngster Olivier Kwizera between the goalposts ahead of veteran Jean Luc Ndayishimiye and also handed youngsters Janvier Mutijima, Justin Mico, Djihad Bizimana, Patrick Sibomana and Bertrand Iradukunda debut starts for the national team.
Captain Haruna Niyonzima, Emery Bayisenge, Michel Rusheshangoga and Ismael Nshutiyamagara were the only regular faces in the Amavubi starting XI while veterans Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza and Jean Claude Iranzi were brought on in the second half.
These changes are a reflection of what the Irishman has emphasized throughout the whole week indicating that pedigree will not guarantee playing time for anyone but rather what is accomplished during training sessions.
Nshutiyamagara who had managed to contain the lethal Kalaba in the first half was replaced by James Tubane, splitting the usual partnership between Nshutiyamagara and Bayisenge, a duo that has been featuring for both club and country for the past two years.
This is the first of many friendly matches lined up this year for the Amavubi as they prepare for the 2016 African Nations Championship (Chan), the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers that begin in June and the 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifiers that kick off in October.
Rwanda will face South Africa in an international friendly on July 25 in Johannesburg.