Group A: Kenya, Libya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zanzibar
Group B: Uganda, Burundi, Ethiopia, South Sudan
APR holding midfielder Andrew Buteera was dropped from the final squad that departed on Friday for this year’s CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup slated for December 4-17 in Nairobi, Kenya.
The 23-year-old was a late inclusion in the Amavubi 24-man provisional squad and was also the casualty as head coach Antoine Hey named his squad of 23 players. The 2017 CECAFA Challenge Cup begins on Sunday in Machakos and Kakamega counties.
Hey admitted that Buteera, who missed the bigger part of last season with a serious knee injury, “still lacks fitness to play in such a big competition.”
“He has been out for a long time due to injury and he is just coming back so we need to protect him. He needs more time to fully regain his fitness,” Hey said Thursday evening.
He noted that the player will be with the team in the near future but not now because he needs to be ready first.
“He is one of the best players we have but we need to give him time and get ready so that he does not play one game and return to injury.”
SC Kiyovu centre-back Ally Mbogo will be making his senior debut for Amavubi while APR forward Maxime Sekamana has returned to the fold.
Amavubi begin their campaign in Group A against Kenya. They will face Tanzania, Libya and Zanzibar in the same group.
The opening match between 2015 finalists Rwanda and hosts Kenya has been rescheduled from Machakos to Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega on Sunday.
On the same day, another Group A match between Libya and Tanzania will take place at Kenyatta Machakos Stadium at 3pm.
Kakamega will, from there henceforth, host all the group B matches that has defending champions Uganda, South Sudan, Burundi and Ethiopia, while Kenyatta Machakos Stadium will host the remaining group A matches.
Moi Sports Center Kasarani will play back up for Group A matches while the Mumias Sports Complex will be the backup for Group B matches.
Amavubi team will be airlifted to Kakamega on Saturday in time for Sunday’s opening game before they head to Machakos on Monday for the rest of the Group matches.
Full 23-man squad:
Goalkeepers: Yves Kimenyi (APR), Marcel Nzarora (Police) 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), Soter Kayumba (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), Djabel Manishimwe (Rayon Sports), Ally Niyonzima (AS Kigali) and Olivier Niyonzima (Rayon Sports).
Forwards: Innocent Nshuti (APR), Sekamana Maxime (APR), Justin Mico (Police), and Abeddy Biramahire (Police).