Rwanda eliminated from CAF U-23 qualifiers

The national U-23 football team crashed out of the CAF U-23 Championship/Rio 2016 Olympic qualifiers following a 4-1 (on aggregate loss) to the Uganda Kobs at the Nakivubo War Memorial Stadium yesterday.
Left back Celestin Ndayishimiye (C) tries to get past Uganda Kobs defenders in the first leg at Amahoro Stadium. Rwanda was eliminated after losing 4-1 on aggregate. (Timothy Kisambira)
Left back Celestin Ndayishimiye (C) tries to get past Uganda Kobs defenders in the first leg at Amahoro Stadium. Rwanda was eliminated after losing 4-1 on aggregate. (Timothy Kisambira)

The national U-23 football team crashed out of the CAF U-23 Championship/Rio 2016 Olympic qualifiers following a 4-1 (on aggregate loss) to the Uganda Kobs at the Nakivubo War Memorial Stadium yesterday.

John Semazi and Captain Farouk Miya opened the deadlock in the 60th and 61st minutes respectively to end Rwanda’s hopes of qualifying for the continental showpiece.

Semazi slotted home after converting a superb pass from substitute Yunus Sentamu of CS Sfaxien who had only replaced forward Fahad Muhammad two minutes earlier.

A minute later, Miya found the back of the net after converting a direct pass from Deus Bukenya on the right flank to bring the score to 2-0 and 4-1 on aggregate in favour of the home side.

Central defender Emery Bayisenge had earlier cleared Semazi’s shot off the line and a long range shot from 30 yards by Miya was saved by goalkeeper Marcel Nzarora to keep the home side in check in the first half. Strikers Isaie Songa and Dominique Antoine Ndayishimiye had several chances in front of goal but their attempts did not amount to much courtesy of goalkeeper Salim Jamal’s brilliance between the posts.

“We really wanted to qualify because that is why we came here but today’s result is a reflection of the first leg result in Kigali. We seemed like we had the game in our hands but we made mistakes that saw them score twice,” lamented Vincent Mashami, Rwanda’s assistant coach who was in charge of the team in Johnny McKinstry’s absence.

However, Mashami commended his players’ performance and said, “I am pleased with the way the boys played this game especially in the first 45 minutes where we created goal scoring chances but we have a very big problem with scoring goals,” explained the frustrated Mashami.

Former Rwanda coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic who is in charge of Uganda now was contented with his side’s performance and said, “I think we had good moments and waves of brilliant performances especially when we scored two goals that literally killed the game. It is absolutely deserving when a team wins 4-1 on aggregate, I think there is nothing to say,” Micho said.

Uganda will meet Egypt in the last round of qualification for the CAF U-23 Championship slated for November 28-December 12 in Dakar, Senegal.

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