Newly appointed Amavubi head coach Antoine Hey has been tasked to qualify Rwanda for the 2018 CHAN and 2019 AFCON finals tournaments in Kenya and Cameroon respectively.
The German, who signed a one-year renewable contract, was unveiled to the media at FERWAFA headquarters on Tuesday. He will be assisted by a Rwandan coach, who FERWAFA president Vincent Nzamwita said will be named “within three days.”
“Rwanda is good in football terms and has a good reputation in Africa. The national team has good players who can do better against any team, and that is what attracted me to this job,” Hey said during the press conference.
He added that, “We want to take Rwanda to the next level. According to what I have seen, the players are tactically sound but we want to improve some aspects technically otherwise I am impressed with what I have seen so far.”
The 46-year-old Hey will also be the head coach for the U23 team, while his assistants in Amavubi, will be in charge of the U20 and other youth teams.
Hey said, “I have watched some of videos of Amavubi. I am very happy to be here, it is an honour and privilege to be selected among others to be the coach of the Rwanda national team, and it’s not easy to be chosen among the many coaches, who applied.”
Rwanda is in Group H, alongside Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea and Central Africa for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. To qualify, Amavubi will need to either top the group or finish second, most likely behind favourities Ivory Coast.
Amavubi will start the campaign for Cameroon 2019 finals in June this year when they play away against Central Africa on June 5-13 as Cote d’Ivoire host Guinea in Abidjan.
“I can’t go into the past why Rwanda didn’t manage to qualify for AFCON but I believe we all share the same dream of qualifying to the African Cup of Nations and I can only promise that we will do the very best to achieve this dream,” added the former FC Schalke 04 and Birmingham City midfielder.
Hey takes over from Johnny McKinstry, who was dismissed in August 2016. Hey, has previously managed Lesotho, Gambia and Libya.
Speaking during the same press conference, FERWAFA president Vincent Nzamwita said that they have tasked Hey to qualify Rwanda for CHAN 2018 and AFCON 2019.
“He has been tasked to qualify Rwanda to next year’s Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) which will be held in Kenya and to help our country be at the 2019 AFCON finals in Cameroon,” revealed Nzamwita.
He added, “We will do our best together with the Ministry of Sports and Culture to ensure that we support him in everything he needs such that we achieve our targets.”
AFCON 2019 campaign
In his target to qualify Rwanda to 2019 AFCON finals, Hey will meet Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea and Central Africa.
Rwanda starts her campaign for Cameroon 2019 finals in June this year when they play away to Central Africa in Match Day One between June 5 -13. At the same time, Côte d’Ivoire will be hosting Guinea in Abidjan.
The remaining match days will be staged between March until November, 2018 when the qualification round will climax.
The winner of each group alongside the best three second-placed teams will qualify for the finals tournament to join hosts Cameroon.
2018 CHAN finals
The road to Kenya 2018 CHAN finals will see Hey lead Amavubi against Tanzania in the second qualification round due in July. The first leg is scheduled to be played between July 14 -16 in Dar es Salaam before the return leg in Kigali in the weekend of July 21-23.
The last time both Rwanda and Tanzania met was during the 2015 CECAFA Challenge Cup held in Ethiopia and Amavubi lost 1-2 in the group stage.
The winner between Rwanda and Tanzania will take on Uganda, which is the most probable favourite to go past the winner between South Sudan and Somalia in the second round.
The second round winners will meet in the third round where only eventual winners will qualify to represent the Central and East Zone at next year’s edition, alongside hosts Kenya.
The CHAN tournament, which is reserved for players who feature in their respective domestic leagues across Africa, will be staged from January 11 to February 2, 2018.
Rwanda made her second appearance as they hosted the 2016 edition, where they reached the quarter-finals before losing 1-2 in extra time to eventual winners, DR Congo.