Opening match will be key, admits Amavubi coach Hey

Rwanda senior national team ‘Amavubi’ head coach Antoine Hey has admitted that his team will be out to avoid defeat in opening game of the 2017 CECAFA Challenge Cup against Kenya on Sunday at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega County.
Midfielders Yannick Mukunzi and Muhadjir Hakizimana vie for the ball during training. Rwanda begin the 2017 CECAFA campaign against Kenya today. 
/ Sam Ngendahimana
Midfielders Yannick Mukunzi and Muhadjir Hakizimana vie for the ball during training. Rwanda begin the 2017 CECAFA campaign against Kenya today. / Sam Ngendahimana

Sunday: Group A
Kenya vs Rwanda 1pm
Libya vs Tanzania 3pm

Monday: Group B
Uganda vs Burundi 2pm

Tuesday: Group A
Zanzibar vs Rwanda 1pm
Kenya vs Libya 3pm

Rwanda senior national team ‘Amavubi’ head coach Antoine Hey has admitted that his team will be out to avoid defeat in opening game of the 2017 CECAFA Challenge Cup against Kenya on Sunday at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega County.

The German tactician will be seeking to win the tournament opening game against the hosts but admitted that they need to be cautious because it will be tough task.

Hey is aware of Amavubi’s record in the tournament and he will be looking to avoid past mistakes. Amavubi will also face Tanzania, Libya and Zanzibar in Group A.

“This game is the key for the tournament for us, we have to make sure that we ready and give our best to get three points so that we can be on safe side. It will be tough for sure as we are playing against home side but we have prepared in all ways,” Hey said before departure on Friday.

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.

Rwanda has a not-so-good record against Kenya, winning five of the past 17 meetings while losing eight and drawing four.

He further noted that, “Winning the opening match will give us motivation to do better in the next matches. We are in a tricky group but we have to keep our heads up.”

Amavubi delegation reached Nairobi Friday evening and spent the night in the Kenyan capital before the was airlifted to Kakamega on Saturday afternoon in time for Sunday’s opening game before they head to Machakos on Monday for the rest of the Group matches.

On the same day, another Group A match between Libya and Tanzania will take place at Kenyatta Machakos Stadium.

Kakamega will from there henceforth host all the group B matches that has defending champions Uganda, South Sudan, Burundi and Ethiopia.

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.

Rwanda’s overall record in the annual CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup includes reaching seven finals since 1999 but they have won just one title.

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).

editorial@newtimes.co.rw