Ghana vs Rwanda 5:30pm
Mozambique vs Mauritius 7:30pm
Rwanda national football team interim head coach Jimmy Mulisa has said that it will be the country’s pride at stake when they face Ghana in their last game of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Gabon group H qualifier at the Accra Sports Stadium today.
Before departing for Accra on Friday, Mulisa said, “We may be out of the race to qualify for the finals, but the players know they are going to play for Rwanda’s pride. With that in mind, I expect each of them to give their best.”
Initially, Amavubi was supposed to depart for Ghana on Thursday but due to flight issues, their departure was pushed to Friday. The Black Stars are already guaranteed top spot in Group H after collecting 13 points from five matches.
“We are going to Ghana to try and put a good performance, we know it is going to be tough, but if you want success in football, you need to face tough opponents. We have nothing to lose in this encounter, which puts us in a position to play without any pressure,” added Mulisa.
The former Amavubi forward pointed out that the team has had what he described as ‘good preparations’ over the past 10 days.
Rwanda lost to Mauritius 1-0 away and Mozambique 3-1 in Kigali, results that all but ended Amavubi’s slim hopes of qualifying as one of the best second-placed teams.
The Black Stars won the corresponding fixture 1-0 in September last year, courtesy of Mubarak Wakaso’s late free-kick at Amahoro National Stadium.
Mulisa was part of the Amavubi team that upset the Black Stars 1-0 at Amahoro National Stadium in 2003 in the qualifiers for AFCON 2004 Tunisia.
Although Amavubi had earlier been beaten 4-2 in the corresponding fixture in Accra, that famous win in Kigali, courtesy of Jimmy Gatete’s header, helped Rwanda to qualify for the AFCON finals tournament for the first time.
Rwanda will go into today’s match in second position on the table standings with six points, level with Mauritius, who face bottom side Mozambique (4 points) in the other Group H final qualifier.
Meanwhile, Ghana’s Minister for Youth and Sports Nii Lante Vanderpuye said his portfolio had no money to pay for overseas-based players to travel, as well as accommodation for the team.
That meant that the Black Stars’ foreign-based players have paid for their own travel, while the players have also reported for training from private homes rather than a team hotel.