Rwanda faces uphill task in return leg

Rwanda U-23 side will have to overturn a 2-1 loss in the first leg of the CAF U-23 Championship/Rio Olympic qualifier when they face Uganda in the return leg on May 31 at Nakivubo War Memorial Stadium.
Dominique Savio Nshuti (L) heads home Rwanda's sole goal as Ugandan goalkeeper Salim Jamal looks on. (Timothy Kisambira)
Dominique Savio Nshuti (L) heads home Rwanda's sole goal as Ugandan goalkeeper Salim Jamal looks on. (Timothy Kisambira)

Saturday
Rwanda U23 1-2 Uganda U23

Rwanda U-23 side will have to overturn a 2-1 loss in the first leg of the CAF U-23 Championship/Rio Olympic qualifier when they face Uganda in the return leg on May 31 at Nakivubo War Memorial Stadium.

Johnny McKinstry’s team were on the back foot after conceding the first goal as early as the ninth minute when Uganda’s captain Farouk Miya converted a superb free-kick just on the edge of the penalty box.

The Ugandan side, handled by former Amavubi Stars coach Milutin “Micho’ Sredojevic, punished Rwanda’s custodian Olivier Kwizera for handling the ball with one leg outside the penalty box for which Djiboutian centre referee Souleiman Ahmed Djamal awarded the visitors a direct free-kick.

Full back Dominique Savio Nshuti equalized for the home side in the 59th minute to bring back hope for Rwanda but a lapse in concentration ten minutes later, saw substitute Muzamiru Mutyaba slot home into an open net to give the visitors a lead and an advantage going into the return leg.

McKinstry expressed disappointment with the result, “I am very frustrated that looking back on the game, apart from the two goals they scored, I don’t remember any other clear goal scoring opportunities for Uganda.”

“There were a couple of shots from distance that Olivier dealt with okay. The second goal, our defense did something crazy. They were drawn out and when you are in problem areas like that, you just get rid of the ball.”

“Young men make these mistakes and in the U17s, U20s and U23s, players can understand the consequences of their mistakes in a competitive environment and they can fix them for a hopeful selection for the senior team,” explained the Irishman.

Meanwhile, Micho was contented with the result but not the performance of his players. He said, “We won this game because of moments of brilliance of Miya and the substitute impact player who scored which to us are important.”

The winner of this tie will meet Egypt in the final round of qualification for the CAF U-23 Championship that will be held in Dakar, Senegal from November 28-December 12. The top three at this tournament will qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.

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