Amavubi head coach Johnny McKinstry has said that finishing second in Group H of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers is a realistic target for Rwanda.
Rwanda was pitted against Ghana, Mozambique and Mauritius in Group H after the draws were announced, yesterday, at the ongoing CAF Congress at Marriot Hotel in Cairo, Egypt.
Gabon was handed the rights to host the biennial event beating Algeria and Ghana who were also bidding to host it.
McKinstry told Times Sport that, “It is obviously a tough group. No one would want to be in the same group as Ghana because they have been a very strong side recently and are a relatively young team.”
“The games against Mozambique and Mauritius will be evenly contested and we can win them.
We have to fight for the second place in this group but so will both Mozambique and Mauritius.
First place will be difficult but second place is a very realistic ambition for us,” explained McKinstry.
The last time Rwanda was drawn against Ghana in the AFCON qualifiers was in 2003; the Black Stars defeated Amavubi 4-2 in Accra but fell to a 1-0 defeat in Kigali courtesy of legendary striker Jimmy Gatete’s 49th minute goal during a highly contested encounter at a fully packed Amahoro stadium.
Eventually, Rwanda finished top of Group 13 with seven points, two ahead of Uganda in second place while Ghana was last with four points.
Meanwhile, neighbours Uganda were drawn with Burkina Faso, Botswana and Comoros Islands, while Kenya were handed a tough draw alongside 2012 AFCON winners Zambia, Guinea Bissau and Congo.
Burundi were placed in Group K alongside giants Senegal, Niger and Namibia, while Tanzania are in Group G with record seven-time African champions Egypt, Nigeria and Chad.
Morocco, who were originally banned from this edition following their withdrawal from hosting the 2015 AFCON, were reinstated after winning a case in the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) and were placed in Group F alongside Cape Verde, Libya and Sao Tome.
The winners in each of the 13 groups will qualify automatically to the final tournament while the two runners-up with the best records will join the hosts to make 16 teams.
Central African Republic