Rwanda national team head coach Antoine Hey has said that increasing Africa Cup of Nations teams from 16 to 24 teams is good for Amavubi.
Effective the 2019 edition, the tournament will involve 24 teams and will now be held in June and July, instead of the usual January/February season.
Amavubi lost their opening qualifier against Central African Republic 2-1 in June but Hey believes that they will do all they can to secure a ticket to the finals tournament in Cameroon. The remaining qualifying match-days will be staged between March and November, 2018.
“It is good that the teams have been increased, but you need to win more games especially at home if you are to qualify. Unfortunately we lost the first game, but we will do all we can in the next matches,” Hey told Times Sport.
The German tactician was tasked to qualify Rwanda for the 2018 CHAN tournament in Kenya as well as the 2019 AFCON finals in Cameroon.
Hey admitted, “It is good for us but again it will be even harder, we need to prepare and be ready to win more matches, which will qualify us. We still have more qualification games but now our immediate focus is on the CHAN qualifiers.”
Rwanda is in Group H, alongside Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea and Central Africa for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
The new CAF changes were approved at a meeting in the Moroccan capital Rabat as the executive committee adopted recommendations made at a wide-ranging symposium last week on Friday.
Other decisions taken at the meeting included the awarding of the 2021 and 2023 Nations Cup editions to Ivory Coast and Guinea respectively.
Major changes have also been introduced to Africa’s Champions League and Confederation Cup tournaments, which will now run from August to May, like the UEFA Champions League, rather than over the course of a calendar year.
CAF endorsed changes to the body’s statutes in order to bring it in line with recent FIFA changes.
Meanwhile, the expansion of the Nations Cup puts pressure on 2019 hosts Cameroon, who have denied claims that they are behind schedule in their preparations.