Haruna fired up ahead of Ghana AFCON clash

Amavubi captain Haruna Niyonzima is confident the team has what it takes to overcome Ghana when the two sides lock horns in a highly anticipated 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Group H qualifier this Saturday at Amahoro Stadium in Kigali.
Quentin Rushenguziminega trains with Amavubi yesterday at Amahoro stadium. The Swiss-based striker is in line for his first international cap on Saturday. (Courtesy)
Quentin Rushenguziminega trains with Amavubi yesterday at Amahoro stadium. The Swiss-based striker is in line for his first international cap on Saturday. (Courtesy)

Group H

Saturday

Rwanda       vs      Ghana 

Sunday

Mauritius     vs      Mozambique

Amavubi captain Haruna Niyonzima is confident the team has what it takes to overcome Ghana when the two sides lock horns in a highly anticipated 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Group H qualifier this Saturday at Amahoro Stadium in Kigali.

Black Stars, this year’s AFCON losing finalists, have not missed a single Nations Cup tournament since 2004 when they were eliminated by Rwanda through a Jimmy Gatete goal during the last qualifier.

The two sides lead their group with three points each, having won their respective ties during the first qualification round, but Ghana occupy the number one spot thanks to a superior goal difference.   

Niyonzima said Amavubi will go into the game looking for nothing less than maximum points against a star-studded Black Stars side as they continue to look for that elusive second ever appearance at the continent’s biggest football showpiece.

The 2017 finals will be held in Gabon.

“We have been training hard ahead of this match. We have worked on both defence and scoring goals and we believe we can pull off a positive result against what I think is the best team in Africa at the moment,” the Young Africans midfielder told Times Sport on Monday.

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Haruna Niyonzima

But he admitted that Amavubi will have to be at their best to not only keep a highly attacking side like Ghana at bay but also beat them.

“This is the biggest game we have had in a very long time but we are capable of putting up a good performance against them as we did away to Mozambique (in the first qualifier in June), we have the potential to upset them,” Niyonzima said.

Niyonzima added: “But we need fans to come out in big numbers to support the team, that would motivate the players to give their best. We know the task won’t be easy, it’s going to be a difficult game but we need to believe in ourselves, we have the capacity to beat any team at in front of our fans.”

Ghana, who are coached by former Chelsea manager Avram Grant, have almost all their star players available for the match, including Andre Ayew, who on Sunday scored the first of the two goals for Swansea City as they beat Manchester United 2-1.

The other teams in Group H Mozambique and Mauritius, who are at the bottom of the group H after losing 7-1 to Ghana in June, will play on Sunday.

Meanwhile, six professional players have since joined the Amavubi training camp. They are; defenders Emery Bayisenge (Lask Linz, Austria), Salomon Nirisarike (Sint-Truidense, Belgium), Abouba Sibomana (Gor Mahia, Kenya); midfielders Niyonzima (Young Africans, Tanzania) and Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza (Azam FC, Tanzania); and striker Quentin Rushenguziminega (Lausanne Sport, Switzerland).

As part of preparations for the Ghana tie, Rwanda on Friday beat Ethiopia 3-1 at Amahoro Stadium, thanks to goals from Ernest Sugira, Jacques Tuyisenge and Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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