Tumaine unfazed by first leg defeat

RWANDA’s U-20 football captain Tumaine Ntamuhanga does not doubt for one second that the Junior Wasps will knock out Congo Brazzaville in the return leg of the 2011 Africa Youth Championship.
Junior Wasps players during yesterday’s training session. (Photo F. Goodman)
Junior Wasps players during yesterday’s training session. (Photo F. Goodman)

RWANDA’s U-20 football captain Tumaine Ntamuhanga does not doubt for one second that the Junior Wasps will knock out Congo Brazzaville in the return leg of the 2011 Africa Youth Championship.

The Congolese march into next weekend’s return leg as overwhelming favourites after Saturday’s convincing 2-0 victory in Brazzaville. The result now means that Sellas Tetteh’s boys need to win by a three-goal margin to eject Congo Brazzaville, who won the competition in 2007.

After the team’s training session at Kicukiro’s artificial turf yesterday, Ntamuhanga who plays for SC Kiyovu told Times Sport that the team has the aptitude to overcome the two-goal deficit and progress to the next stage.

“We made big mistakes in the first leg both in defence and attack so those are some of the areas we are trying to work on in training,” he said.

“The atmosphere in the dressing room is very encouraging and I believe we shall score the three goals. We are not prepared to leave the qualifiers just yet and call upon fans to come and back us up during this important game,” the 17-year-old defensive midfielder continued.

While admitting that it was a big mountain to climb, Tetteh, who has already tested success at this stage after guiding Ghana to the 2009 AYC title, believes that it is not insurmountable.

“We are going to play this match at a crucial time when the country is going for elections, so a win would do everyone just fine,” the Ghanaian said.
“It will not be easy but with the grace of God, we will get through.”

Tetteh also emphasized that the burden of scoring would not be left to the strikers.
“Scoring is a collective team effort so I expect everyone to join in.”

Seven teams from the final qualifying round will join hosts Libya for the tournament proper slated to run from March 18 to April 1 next year.

In the 80s, Nigeria dominated the event winning the title four times on the trot. The Junior Flying Eagles then won the event in 2005 (Benin) before finishing runners–up to hosts Ghana in 1999 and Congo Brazzaville in 2007.

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