Rwanda U-23 head coach Johnny McKinstry has urged the national side not to take Somalia lightly ahead of the return CAF U-23 Championship qualifier return leg at the El-Hadj Hassan Gouled stadium in Djibouti on May 10.
McKinstry’s side won the first leg at Amahoro Stadium with goals from Yannick Mukunzi and Kevin Muhire but the Irish tactician mentioned that this encounter is far from over.
“Well, 2-0 is a very dangerous score line because at 1-0, naturally you keep working hard and at 3-0, the tie is dead but at 2-0, if the other team gets one goal then things start happening!
Our aim is to score the first goal especially in the first 20 minutes then it will be a very long way back for Somalia with the away goals rule, because they will need to score four goals,” explained McKinstry.
Meanwhile, McKinstry has named first choice goalkeeper Olivier Kwizera, defenders Michel Rusheshangoga and Faustin Usengimana as well as midfielder Djihad Bizimana in the 18-man squad that will play this weekend.
The quartet returns to the national team fold after the Confederation of African Football (CAF) cleared them following mistakes made by the Rwanda Football Federation (FERWAFA) while filling in their play cards for the first leg which were different from the ones that were handed in by their respective clubs for the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederations Cup earlier this year.
“It is good to bring them back in the team because they have experience and are quality players,” mentioned McKinstry.
Meanwhile, he explained that the team has quickly adapted to the artificial turf surface in training at the FERWAFA ground since they will be playing at the El-Hadj Hassan Gouled stadium which has an artificial turf.
“It is quite fortunate that we have different facilities so we can afford to make adjustments. A lot of the players who play in Rwanda are very comfortable playing on the artificial turf because that is what they are used to in the league. They like to pass the ball and yes possession is good but we need to have more shots on goal. They are less direct on the grass so the artificial turf is great,” said McKinstry.
The winner of this tie will qualify for the second round of qualification where they will meet Uganda and the side that emerges victorious will meet Egypt in the last round of qualification for the quadrennial CAF U-23 Championship scheduled for December 5-19 in Senegal that will attract eight teams. The top three sides at this continental event will qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Goalkeepers: Olivier Kwizera, Marcel Nzarora.
Defenders: Abdul Rwatubyaye, Emery Bayisenge, Faustin Usengimana, Janvier Mutijima, Michel Rusheshangoga.
Midfielders: Djihad Bizimana, Yannick Mukunzi, Kabanda Bonfils, Kevin Muhire, Yves Rubasha.
Forwards: Justin Mico, Dominique Savio Nshuti, Jean Marie Muvandimwe, Isaie Songa, Bertrand Iradukunda and Bienvenue Mugenzi.