Rwanda vs Ethiopia 3:30pm
Amavubi midfielder Muhadjir Hakizimana has said the team has what it takes to overcome Ethiopia when the two sides lock horns in a highly anticipated second leg of the CHAN 2018 Play-off qualifier on Sunday at Kigali Stadium.
Hakizimana, who came on as a second half substitute in the first leg and scored Rwanda’s second goal in the 3-2 away win on Sunday in Addis Ababa, will earn his fifth international cap following his debut against Mauritius last year.
The APR FC playmaker has faced different oppositions among them Mauritius, Ghana, Mozambique and Ethiopia. He has scored two goals so far with the first coming against Ghana.
“It is a big honour to pay for my country because it’s a dream of every professional footballer, I’ve only played four times and I try to work hard and give my best every time I get the opportunity. We have a good team and we’re confident of winning at home,” he said after Thursday’s training at Kigali Stadium.
Amavubi only need a draw in the second leg to book their ticket to Morocco. The winner over the two legs will join Uganda and Sudan as representatives of the CECAFA region.
Rwanda took part in the 2011 edition held in Sudan, before hosting the 2016 edition when they reached the quarter-final round, losing to eventual winners DR Congo, 2-1 in extra-time.
Hakizimana noted that, “Morale is high after the win on Sunday, but we can’t afford to take anything for granted, we’re training hard and we believe we can pull off a positive result against a good side.”
“This is the biggest game for some of us, we must be well-prepared because Ethiopia can win just as we did at their place, so we need to be cautious but at the same time try to attack them because we can’t sit back and allow them to come at us,” he added.
After the double training session on Wednesday, Antoine Hey’s team trained once on Thursday as well as Friday and Saturday as Hey seeks to assemble a team he thinks can ensure Rwanda’s qualification to next year’s finals tournament in Morocco.
In the first leg, Girma Aschalew gave Ethiopia the lead in the 18th minute and the hosts held on until the 55th minute when Rayon Sports left-back Eric Rutanga equalized for Amavubi with wonderful free kick.
The Wallias restored their lead in the 65th minute though Abubakher Sanni but Hakizimana leveled again for Rwanda in the 78th minute before Police FC striker Abeddy Biramahire snatched the winning goal two minutes later.
The away victory boosted chances of Rwanda to qualify for the finals of Africa’s second biggest international competition, which is reserved for players, who feature in their respective domestic leagues.
The draw for the finals tournament is scheduled for November 17 in Morocco and the finals tournament will run from January 12 to February 4.