Can Rwanda qualify for CHAN Morocco 2018? Many would answer ‘yes’ with a shrug of hope. In all honesty, chances appear to be high for Antonia Hey’s team to book the final ticket and complete the list of 16 teams.
Amavubi lock horns with the Ibex Wallias in the Play-off qualifier second leg at Kigali Stadium on Sunday—having won the first leg 3-2 last weekend in Addis Ababa.
That victory gave Rwanda the advantage, but what else does Amavubi need to do to secure qualification? Saturday Sport looks at Amavubi chances to book ticket to Morocco.
Amavubi is playing at Kigali Stadium, in-front of their home supporters cheering the team on. It gives them the advantage and the confidence to fight until the final whistle.
Ethiopia will have to deal with the crowd’s open hostility or, perhaps worse, its silent contempt, which drains away confidence. Beating the Wasps at home will be tough, the last time both sides met in Kigali, in 2015, Rwanda won 3-1 at Amahoro National Stadium.
Besides, statistics show Amavubi have a better home record this year, they have drawn once (against Tanzania) and won the last two fixtures against Sudan (2-1) and Uganda (2-0).
Just a draw needed
Hey and his players know they will need to avoid conceding, which means cutting out the clumsy defensive mistakes they made in the first leg—a goalless draw or avoiding a 2-0 defeat is enough for Rwanda to progress to Morocco.
However, if Ethiopia, who have ambitions of their own to achieve, happen to win by a margin of two goals, that could spell disaster for Hey, who admits that, “anything can happen in football.”
A 3-2 victory for Ethiopia inside the 90 minutes will take the game into extra- time, of which in this case the score remains the same, the overall winner will be determined by the much-dreaded penalty shoot-out.
At this stage, qualification appears not to be the only thing on the back of Hey’s mind, as he needs a win badly to appease and offer hope to Amavubi fans, who have gone through so many disappointments under the previous ‘regimes’.
Missing players not a worry
Despite the absence of suspended midfielder Djihad Bizimana for Sunday’s clash, Hey should have no reason to worry- he has enough options in Ally Niyonzima (AS Kigali), Oliver Niyonzima (Rayon Sports), Muhadjir Hakizimana (APR FC) and Yannick Mukunzi (Rayon Sports).
Hey set out his team to play offensively in the first leg, knowing that they needed to get an away goal(s), and indeed, the strategy worked for him, but it also left his backline exposed to counter attacks.
On Sunday, it is anyone’s guess as which tactics the German tactician will employ to avoid conceding, especially an early goal that would destabilize not only the players but also the fans.
Rwanda’s goals in the first leg were scored by left-back Rayon Sports Eric Rutanga, attacking midfielder Hakizimana and Police FC young forward, Abeddy Biramahire.