APR FC midfielder Andrew Buteera has been included in the Amavubi provisional squad that is preparing for the upcoming CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup, which will be held in Kenya from December 3-17.
Buteera, 23, was a late inclusion after putting in some impressive shifts for APR in the first eight league matches of the current campaign.
The former U-17 starlet joined Amavubi residential training camp on Monday morning a day after netting a stunning goal in the 1-1 draw against Mukura Victory Sports in Azam Rwanda Premier League match-day 8.
Buteera becomes the 9th APR FC player in the Amavubi provisional 24-player squad that will be reduced to 23 before the team departs for Kenya on Friday afternoon.
Since returning from a long-term knee injury that kept him out for most part of last season, Buteera has been key to Jimmy Mulisa’s team as they chase a record-extending 17th league title.
APR are currently in third place with 15 points, level with second-placed SC Kiyovu and one behind leaders AS Kigali.
Buteera’s call-up to Amavubi after over a year in wilderness, came barely a week after Mulisa praised Buteera’s contribution to APR, noting that, “he brings stability to the team.”
Buteera featured for Amavubi U17 in the 2011 World Cup, which was staged in Mexico, but he got a knee injury during the CECAFA 2012 competition held in Tanzania, which kept him on and off for a couple of seasons until he underwent surgery in February this year.
The APR midfielder underwent a successful knee operation in Casablanca, Morocco—the surgery was done by the experienced Morocco national team doctor, Dr. Abderrazak Hifti.
Antoine Hey’s team held double training sessions on Monday at Amahoro National Stadium and will do the same on Tuesday. On Wednesday and Thursday, the team will train once in the afternoon before flying out to Nairobi on Friday.
“We have included some new faces in the squad, but the other players have been with us for a while, they have done extremely well in the last couple of months but now they all (players) have a chance to show that they want to be part of the CHAN team,” Hey said on Monday.
The German tactician noted that, “It’s a fair chance for these players to prove that they deserve to be in the team that is going to Morocco.”
Rwanda has been handed a daunting task against hosts Kenya in Group A, which also has Tanzania, Zanzibar and guest side Libya, who are preparing for the 2018 CHAN finals in Morocco.
Defending champions, Uganda have been placed in Group B alongside Burundi, South Sudan, Ethiopia and another guest nation, Zimbabwe.
Rwanda will use the regional tournament as part of their preparations for next year’s Africa Nations Championship, which will run from January 12 through February 4.
The 24-man squad:
Goalkeepers: Yves Kimenyi (APR FC), Marcel Nzarora (Police FC) and Eric Ndayishimiye (Rayon Sports)
Defenders: Herve Rugwiro (APR), Fitina Omborenga (APR), Emmanuel Imanishimwe (APR), Thierry Manzi (Rayon Sports), Faustin Usengimana (Rayon Sports), Eric Rutanga (Rayon Sports), Kayumba Soter (AS Kigali), Eric Iradukunda (AS Kigali) and Ally Mbogo (SC Kiyovu).
Midfielders: Djihad Bizimana (APR), Muhadjir Hakizimana (APR), Amran Nshimiyimana (APR), Yannick Mukunzi (Rayon Sports), Andrew Buteera (APR), Djabel Manishimwe (Rayon Sports), Ally Niyonzima (AS Kigali) and Olivier Niyonzima (Rayon Sports).
Forwards: Innocent Nshuti (APR), Maxime Sekamana (APR), Mico Justin (Police FC), Abeddy Biramahire (Police FC).