Amavubi must avoid a repeat of past mistakes

AFTER losing in six finals of the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup, Rwanda national team (Amavubi) will go into this year’s edition looking to avoid the gambling that have happened in the past years.
Antoine Hey will use only local players in the regional tournament as he prepares for the 2018 African Nations Championships finals in Morocco. S. Ngendahimana
Antoine Hey will use only local players in the regional tournament as he prepares for the 2018 African Nations Championships finals in Morocco. S. Ngendahimana

Pools:

Group A: Kenya, Libya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zanzibar
Group B: Uganda, Burundi, Ethiopia, South Sudan

AFTER losing in six finals of the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup, Rwanda national team (Amavubi) will go into this year’s edition looking to avoid the gambling that have happened in the past years.

Head coach Antoine Hey will use only local players in the regional tournament, which is scheduled for December 3-17 in Kenya as he prepares for the 2018 African Nations Championships (CHAN) finals in Morocco.

Amavubi reached the final two years ago and lost to the Uganda Cranes 1-0 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In total, Rwanda has played in seven finals since 1999, but won only one trophy.

The last time Rwanda won the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup was 18 years ago when they beat Kenya 3-1 at Amahoro National Stadium, when some of the players in the current Amavubi, like Abeddy Biramahire, 19, Innocent Nshuti, 18, Djabel Manishimwe, 19, were just toddlers.

“We have a very young team but it is willing to work hard and reach another level. They have been getting better in past games and I feel that they can do much better in CECAFA. They need to show their talent during the tournament because, in a way, they will be marketing themselves,” Hey said.

Hey further explained that, “It is one of the best competitions especially for the young players to get experience, so we need to give them a chance. We are going with a purpose to win (the tournament) and the key for us will be the first game.”

In 2001, Rwanda “A” finished in third place after beating Rwanda “B” 1-0 as Ethiopia won the title after winning against Kenya. In 2002 Rwanda beat Uganda 2-1 to get third place and Kenya won the title after beating Tanzania 3-2.

In 2002, Rwanda was defeated by Uganda in the final 2-0 and the following year, Rwanda did not make the last four. In 2005, Rwanda was beaten 2-1 by Ethiopia and the following year, Amavubi finished in third place after winning against Uganda on penalty shootout after both sides played goalless draw.

In 2007, Rwanda lost to Sudan on penalty shootout in the final after drawing 2-2 in normal time. In 2008, Rwanda did not make it to the last eight.

In 2009, they were defeated by Uganda 2-0 while in 2011 they again lost to Uganda on penalty shootout after both sides settled for 2-in all draw and again two years ago, Rwanda lost the final match to rivals Uganda following a 1-0 loss courtesy of a lone header from Caesar Okhuti in the 15th minute.

Hey has surely been made aware of Amavubi’s record in the tournament and he plus his players will be looking to avoid past mistakes when they reach the final.

However, it is going to be interesting to see how the German tactician, formerly in charge of Kenya’s Harambee Stars, goes about his business without his most experienced players after putting faith in young blood.

By going with only home-based players, it means Hey dropped senior players like Gor Mahia duo of Jacques Tuyisenge and Jean Baptiste ‘Migi’ Mugiraneza, SC Simba-player maker, Haruna Niyonzima, Zesco United forward Jean Claude Iranzi and Belgium-based Salomon Nirisarike.

Rwanda has been drawn in Group A along with hosts Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar and guest side Libya. The two week-long tournament will be a good test for Amavubi players, who will be seeking to impress in order to be selected on the final team for CHAN finals.

Challenge Cup 2017 Fixtures

Dec. 3: Group A
Libya Vs Tanzania
Kenya Vs Rwanda

Dec. 4: Group B
Burundi Vs Ethiopia
Uganda Vs Zimbabwe

Dec. 5: Group A
Zanzibar Vs Rwanda
Kenya Vs Libya

Dec. 6: Group B
South Sudan Vs Zimbabwe
Uganda Vs Burundi

Dec. 7
Tanzania Vs Zanzibar
Rwanda Vs Libya

Dec. 8: Group B
South Sudan Vs Ethiopia
Zimbabwe Vs Burundi

Dec. 9: Group A
Rwanda Vs Tanzania
Kenya Vs Zanzibar

Dec. 10: Group B
South Sudan Vs Burundi
Ethiopia Vs Uganda

Dec. 11: Group A
Libya Vs Zanzibar
Kenya Vs Tanzania

Dec. 12: Group B
Uganda Vs South Sudan
Zimbabwe Vs Ethiopia

Dec. 13: Rest Day

Dec. 14: 1st Semi-final
Winner A Vs Runners-up B

Dec. 15: 2nd Semi-final
Winner B Vs Runners-up A

Dec. 16: Rest Day

Dec. 17

Third-place & Final

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