FORMER U-20 Captain and stand-in Amavubi skipper Haruna Niyonzima has urged Junior Wasps stars to deliver according to their potential in next Saturday’s crunch 2011 Africa Youth Championship return leg qualifier against Congo Brazzaville.
Rwanda suffered a 2-0 defeat in the first leg and now needs a three-goal margin to eject the Congolese and consequently progress to the next round.
After watching the team’s training session on Thursday at Kicukiro’s artificial turf, Niyonzima believes that the tie can still be inverted.
“I have talked to some of the guys and they are buzzing with confidence which is a very good sign,” he told Times Sport.
“That’s the kind of attitude you need from players ahead of such a big and decisive game.
“I’m also calling upon all the fans to flock Amahoro stadium in big numbers to support the team,” he added.
Niyonzima captained the Junior Wasps during the 2009 championships which were hosted in Kigali. Despite a spirited display, Rwanda still failed to progress past the group stages.
Ghana went on to win the tournament under the guidance of Sellas Tetteh but that was just a tip of the iceberg. Tetteh and his youngsters defied the odds as they went on to win the U-20 World Cup after defeating Brazil in the final.
The milestone means that Tetteh is the first African coach to win the World Cup at any stage.
To further motivate the team, the local football governing body (Ferwafa) has staked Rwf 0.9m in bonuses if Rwanda knocks out Congo Brazzaville.
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.