Rwanda 0-1 Gabon
Striker St Etienne Cyrille Avebe Engozoo inspired Gabon to a 1-0 victory over Rwanda in an international friendly match yesterday at Amahoro National Stadium.
In a repeat of events that condoned Rwanda to a 1-0 loss to Ghana exactly a week ago, Amavubi conceded a free-kick from the edge of the penalty box from which Engozoo found the back of the net with a fine finish, in similar fashion to Mubarak Wakaso’s.
Same spot, same freekick, same scoreline except this time round, different goalkeeper Eric ‘Bakame’ Ndayishimiye whose extended stretch was not enough to deny the on-form Les Pantheres in the 37th minute.
Last Saturday, goalkeeper Olivier Kwizera conceded the same free-kick with Ghana’s Wakaso stunning a fully packed Amahoro Stadium with a late strike.
However, yesterday’s defeat exposed the locally-based Amavubi players, who seemed unsure of their strengths for the most part of the first half constantly losing possession in midfield and not causing much threat in front of the Gabon goal.
Gabon presented a physical aspect from with hard tackles and shoves in one-on-one scenarios more often than not to deter Amavubi’s style of play.
Striker Ernest Sugira had a few run-ins at goalkeeper Stephane Yves Moto Bitseki but the Gabonese captain was very alert all afternoon saving up to five attempts from set pieces.
Djihad Bizimana twice attempted long range shots in the second half but the introduction of Isaie Songa is what gave the Amavubi an air of hope.
Songa and Sugira mounted pressure upfront late into the game with the former’s header hitting the post before Jacques Tuyisenge’s goal was disallowed for a foul on Bitseki.
The late surge did not count for much as Gabon defended well to hold on to their 1-0 lead to complete an impressive week that saw them thrash Sudan 4-0 in Libreville in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier last weekend before holding Zambia to a 1-1 draw in Lusaka.
This fixture was part of Rwanda’s preparations for the 2016 African Nations Championship (CHAN) that will be hosted in Rwanda from January 16-February 7, attracting only locally based players that feature in their domestic leagues.