Zimbabwe vs Liberia 3pm
Central Afr Rep vs Rwanda 4pm
Benin vs Gambia 5pm
Ghana vs Ethiopia 5:30pm
Algeria vs Togo 11pm
Amavubi head coach Antoine Hey says his players are in high spirits going into the opening 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Central African Republic on Sunday at Stade Barthelemy Boganda in Bangui. The game kicks off at 4pm local time.
Rwanda has never qualified for the AFCON finals tournament since making their debut in 2004, but Hey believes a winning start to the qualification campaign, would greatly boost their chances to make history again.
“The players have worked really hard, we needed to lift them in a very short time to the standard we expect them to perform at because on Sunday we are not playing a friendly but a competitive,” Hey said.
The German tactician will be taking charge of his first competitive match since taking over as Amavubi head coach but he goes against a side that has not lost at home in nearly seven years and they too will be hoping to make a winning start in-front of their fans.
He noted that, “Players are very motivated to win the game and the atmosphere and mood in camp very good and we expect the players to give our best because we want to return home with victory – if we don’t get three points, at least we will look for one. We’re not thinking about defeat.”
“We have a good team, which I believe can do better against any team in our group. We have prepared well and I strongly feel we can get a good result on Sunday.
“The players have potential but the team has not been together for some time and players didn’t know what we want, the type of system we need to use, and despite the short time working together, they have adapted very well although we know there is room for improvement,” stated the ex-Kenya coach.
Hey admitted that Sunday’s match will be a good test of the team’s new playing system of playing three defenders and wing backs. All his predecessors were mainly using the traditional 4-4-2 system.
Amavubi will go into the match fresh from registering two wins over Morocco last weekend, the first outing for the national team in nearly nine months – the team’s last match was last September against Ghana in the final 2017 AFCON qualifier in Tamale, which ended 1-1.
Rwanda and Central African Republic are in Group H for AFCON 2019 qualification campaign along with Ivory Coast, Guinea.
Central African Republic have never qualified for Africa’s premier international cup competition, and face an uphill task if they are to break the jinx.
Central Africa Republic head coach Raoul Savoy, who applied for the Amavubi job but was beaten it by Hey, says his team is in good form to preserve the home record.
“We know Rwanda is good team but we are ready for the game and we are playing at home in front of our fans and it is the motivation for us” Savor noted.
Rwanda will be aiming to qualify for only their second tournament with the Amavubi’s only appearance coming 13 years ago in Tunisia where they beat Democratic Republic of Congo and drew with Guinea but it was not enough to seal their place in the knockout stages.