It's do or die for Rwanda against Uganda in qualifier

Rwanda U-23 national football team will be looking to overturn a 2-1 deficit when they take on Uganda in the CAF U-23 Championship/Rio 2016 Olympic qualifier today at the Nakivubo War Memorial Stadium in Kampala.
Rwanda midfielder Andrew Buteera (R) had a decent game in the first leg in Kigali last week. (Timothy Kisambira)
Rwanda midfielder Andrew Buteera (R) had a decent game in the first leg in Kigali last week. (Timothy Kisambira)

Today

Uganda     vs   Rwanda     3:30pm

Rwanda U-23 national football team will be looking to overturn a 2-1 deficit when they take on Uganda in the CAF U-23 Championship/Rio 2016 Olympic qualifier today at the Nakivubo War Memorial Stadium in Kampala.

Assistant coach Vincent Mashami is upbeat about his side’s chances and believes that the players have what it takes to get a positive result that will send them to the next round where the winner of this tie will meet Egypt in the last round of qualification for the continental showpiece set for Dakar, Senegal from November 28-December 12.

“We are ready for the task ahead and the mood in camp is positive. We have belief that we shall do well because we have corrected our mistakes from the first leg encounter that cost us heavily, especially when you look at the goals we conceded,” explained Mashami.

Ideally, Rwanda will be looking to score twice and not concede against the Uganda Kobs but in CS Sfaxien’s Yunus Ssentamu, the visitors will face a prolific striker who scored three goals against Burkina Faso (two) and Morocco at the 2014 African Nations Championship (CHAN).

Forwards Fahad Muhammed, Alex Bukenya Kitata and John Semazi also present several scoring options upfront for Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic’s side.

But Mashami is confident that his defensive quartet of Michel Rusheshangoga, captain Emery Bayisenge, Faustin Usengimana and Célestin Ndayishimiye will do the job to execute the game plan.

Mashami will also be relying on the creativity of playmakers Andrew Buteera and Yannick Mukunzi in midfield to craft chances for his attacking line-up of Isaie Songa, Dominique Antoine Ndayishimiye and first leg goal scorer Dominique Savio Nshuti.

The optimistic Mashami said that, “We created several chances in the first leg and we want to do that again but, this time, convert our chances because that will be very important for us as we attempt to win this game.”

Mashami, who is in charge in the absence of head coach Johnny McKinstry (who is pursuing his UEFA Pro Licence in Europe), has expressed confidence in second choice goalkeeper Marcel Nzarora who replaced the injured Olivier Kwizera.

“Marcel Nzarora has massive experience on the international scene having featured for Rwanda at the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico so he knows what is expected of him and I am confident in his abilities,” mentioned Mashami.

Rwanda’s probable starting XI:

Marcel Nzarora, Michel Rusheshangoga, Emery Bayisenge, Faustin Usengimana, Celestin Ndayishimiye, Yannick Mukunzi, Andrew Buteera, Bonfils Kabanda, Dominique Antoine Ndayishimiye, Isaie Songa.

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