Playmakers Maxime Sekamana and Andrew Buteera have been included in the 25-man provincial squad that is preparing to face Uganda in the CAF U-23 Championship qualifier second round first leg tie on May 23 at Amahoro Stadium.
Sekamana, who is the top scorer of the newly crowned league champions APR with six goals this season, returns to the national U-23 side for the first time since January when he featured in the 1-1 draw against Tanzania in a friendly match in Mwanza.
“It is a great privilege to be named in the provisional national U-23 squad. Of course, every player would want to be called up and I’m glad that I have been included in the team this time round. I will make sure I work hard to make the final team,” revealed Sekamana.
The 21-year-old Sekamana, who came to light in the first round following injuries to eight members of APR’s starting XI displayed a combination of midfield brilliance and ability to score but since the resignation of head coach Ljubomir Petrovic, he has since been out of favour with interim coach Dusan Suljagic.
Sekamana said, “Obviously, I did pretty well in the first round but I have not played that much in the second round as I would have loved to but I have to keep working and with this opportunity to play on the national team, I have to keep improving.”
Buteera returns to the U-23 fold having earlier been left out alongside seven other dependable players for the first leg because the Rwanda Football Federation (FERWAFA) wrongly filled in their play cards to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) as compared to what their clubs handed in during the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederations Cup earlier this year.
Isonga striker Danny Usengimana, defensive midfielder Robert Ndatimana of Rayon Sports and Marines goalkeeper Gahunga Habarurema are some of the new faces that have been called up for training this afternoon at Amahoro stadium.
Meanwhile, Justin Mico of AS Kigali has been dropped from the side following a poor show in Djibouti in the 1-1 draw against Somalia last weekend.
The foreign-based duo of Bonfils Kabanda and Yves Rubasha has maintained their positions in the squad and has been training with APR this week.
Amavubi U23 provisional squad:
Goalkeepers: Marcel Nzarora (Police FC), Olivier Kwizera (APR FC), Gahunga Habarurema (Marines FC)
Defenders: Emery Bayisenge (APR FC), Abdul Rwatubyaye (APR), Faustin Usengimana (Rayon Sport), Michel Rusheshangoga (APR FC), Fitina Ombolenga (SC Kiyovu), Janvier Mutijima (AS Kigali), Celestin Ndayishimiye (Mukura VS)
Midfielders: Yannick Mukunzi (APR FC), Djihad Bizimana (Rayon Sport), Robert Ndatimana (Rayon Sport), Bonfils Kabanda (Asd Sangiovannese-Italy), Kevin Muhire (Isonga), Andrew Buteera (APR FC), Yves Rubasha (Portland Timbers-USA), Cedric Mugenzi (Gicumbi FC), Jean Marie Vianney Muvandimwe (Gicumbi FC), Maxime Sekamana (APR FC)
Forwards: Dominique Savio Nshuti (Isonga), Danny Usengimana (Isonga), Bertrand Iradukunda (APR FC), Bienvenue Mugenzi (Marines FC), Isaie Songa (AS Kigali).