Rwanda national football team head coach Antoine Hey has urged players to raise their fitness levels before joining residential camp on May 25 ahead of upcoming continental qualifiers.
Hey took the players through the first fitness test on Thursday at Amahoro National Stadium as he bids to prepare a strong team for the AFCON 2019 and CHAN 2018 qualifiers that get underway in June and July respectively.
Speaking to Times Sport after his first training session with the players, the German tactician revealed that he saw some players, who he thinks, need to improve their fitness.
“We have mixed results and we will review them in the coming days, we have some players who are in very good shape and there are some who still have a lot of work. We will contact the players and clubs with recommendations on what they need to work on,” said Hey.
He noted that, “There is work to be done before the players are ready for international matches, but we are on track, we have a big group of players but some are fine and others are not. We don’t have enough time to work with before the first qualifier, so they need to work on their fitness.”
The fitness test involved forty (40) players minus Rayon Sports midfielder Kevin Muhire, who withdrew due to illness. The test was done in six groups as every player was tested on both speed and endurance basis.
The second fitness test will be held on May 25, on the day the team starts residential training camp for the first Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Central African Republic, which will be played on the weekend of June 10-13.
Hey will be looking to qualify Rwanda to the 2018 CHAN and 2019 AFCON finals tournaments in Kenya and Cameroon, respectively.
Rwanda was drawn in Group H for AFCON 2019 along with Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea and Central African Republic. Amavubi will be looking to qualify for the second time having made its debut in 2004, in Tunisia.
The winner of each group alongside the best three second placed teams will qualify for the tournament and hosts Cameroon will also be part of the qualifiers.
Meanwhile, the road to Kenya 2018 CHAN finals will see Hey lead Amavubi against Tanzania in the second qualification round in July. The first leg is scheduled to be played between July 14 -16 in Dar es Salaam before the return leg in Kigali on the weekend of July 21-23.
Meanwhile, Rwanda dropped one place to 118th in the latest FIFA rankings for the month of May. Rwanda’s opponents in the 2019 Afcon qualifier Central Africa remain unmoved in 130th, Guinea are 71st while Cote d’Ivoire are 48th.