AFCON 2019: Amavubi captain calls for early preps

The national football team captain Haruna Niyonzima is confident that the team has what it takes to overcome Group H teams that include; defending champions Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea and Central Africa in the 2019 AFCON qualifiers-the finals tournament will be staged in Cameroon.
Amavubi skipper Niyonzima Haruna. / File photo
Amavubi skipper Niyonzima Haruna. / File photo

Group H fixtures

June 5-13
Cote d’Ivoire vs Guinea
Central Africa vs Rwanda

March 19-27, 2018
Guinea vs Central Africa
Rwanda vs Cote d’Ivoire

Sept. 3-11
Cote d’Ivoire vs Central Africa
Guinea vs Rwanda

Oct. 8-16
Guinea vs Cote d’Ivoire
Rwanda vs Central Africa

Nov. 5-13
Central Africa vs Guinea
Cote d’Ivoire vs Rwanda

The national football team captain Haruna Niyonzima is confident that the team has what it takes to overcome Group H teams that include; defending champions Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea and Central Africa in the 2019 AFCON qualifiers—the finals tournament will be staged in Cameroon.

Amavubi failed to qualify for this year’s edition that kicks off today in Gabon. The draw for the next edition was held in Gabon on Thursday night. Amavubi were drawn out of pot 4 and were pitted in Group H.

Reacting to the draw, Amavubi skipper Niyonzima admitted that it is a tough group but added that Amavubi can contain the opponents if preparations ahead of the qualification matches are good.

“It’s a tough group but I am sure we can do better this time round because we know we have got talented players. What we need to do is to prepare early and be confident that we can compete with any of the big teams on the continent,” he said.

“I know we are capable of reaching the finals but we need more focus and proper preparation. It is high time to refresh and do more to make Rwandans smile again. I know we have capacity and capability of reaching the finals,” noted the Young African (Yanga) playmaker.

Rwanda will start her campaign for Cameroon 2019 finals in June this year when they play away to Central Africa between June 5-13 while title holders Cote d’Ivoire will host Guinea in Abidjan. The remaining fixtures will be played between March and November, 2018.

The winner of each group along with the best three second-placed teams will join hosts Cameroon for the finals tournament.

Rwanda will be vying for a second appearance at the finals having made their debut in 2004 after leading the group that also had Uganda and Ghana.

Last year, Rwanda missed out on a slot for Gabon 2017 after finishing third in Group H with seven points behind Ghana and Mozambique, while Mauritius finished bottom.

Former champions like Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia also failed to qualify for this year’s competition.

It will be the second time that the oil-rich Gabon are hosting the tournament after they first did so in 2012 as joint hosts with Equatorial Guinea.

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Full draw:

Group A: Senegal, Equatorial Guinea, Sudan, Sao Tome e Principe or Madagascar
Group B: Cameroon, Morocco, Malawi, Comoros or Mauritius
Group C: Mali, Gabon, Burundi, Djibouti or South Sudan
Group D: Algeria, Togo, Benin, Gambia
Group E: Nigeria, South Africa, Libya, Seychelles
Group F: Ghana, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Kenya
Group G: Congo DR, Congo-Brazzaville, Zimbabwe, Liberia
Group H: Ivory Coast, Guinea, Central African Republic, Rwanda
Group I: Burkina Faso, Angola, Botswana, Mauritania
Group J: Tunisia, Egypt, Niger, Swaziland
Group K: Zambia, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Namibia
Group L: Cape Verde, Uganda, Tanzania, Lesotho

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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