No chance of qualifying but Amavubi goes out to upset Elephants
2012 CAN qualifying
Rwanda vs Ivory Coast 3:30pm
Burundi vs Benin
3000 Frw-covered stands
EVEN with little to play for besides pride and maybe bragging rights, the Amavubi Stars face a tricky test against Ivory Coast in the penultimate match of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign this afternoon at Amahoro stadium.
Rwanda’s dream of making the 2012 Orange Africa Nations Cup pretty much all but over, Amavubi team has set his sights on restoring the country’s lost pride and spoiling the party for Elephants with a win today.
The Amavubi team which is placed bottom of Group H with three points is ranked 138 while their opponents, who are top-ranked team in Africa and 14th in the world, have already qualified for next year’s Nations’ Cup finals after registering a maximum 12 points from four games.
On a down side, Sellas Tetteh’s team goes into today’s match task without influential midfielder Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza, who is serving a one-match suspension, striker Elias Uzamukunda and defender Mbuyu Twite.
Uzamukunda failed to get process his travel documents in time for the match while Mbuyu turned down the team’s call.
Tetteh, who has been with the team in a three-week residential training camp, was in upbeat mood yesterday about the team chances of upsetting their more illustrious opponents.
“We have had good training sessions in the last three weeks and our confidence is high going into tomorrow’s game against the Elephants,” stated the Ghanaian.
Nothing to lose
Meanwhile, skipper Haruna Niyonzima has declared that they will go all out for victory. “We are all aware that we have nothing to lose if we attacked them from the start and that’s what we intend to do.”
“Our opponents are an experienced side with all their players playing in better leagues around the world. They are favourites to win but don’t be surprised if we win the game,” vowed the Tanzania based midfield.
The Yanga Africans star added, “We are considered minnows but we are in good form and playing at home is also an advantage so we need everyone’s support.”
Ivory Coast’s coach Francois Zahoui is optimistic his side can play to their best and win the clash. He said on Thursday evening that he respects Rwanda for being a good side that has managed to progress with good re-organisation.
“Every team that plays against Cote d’Ivoire redoubles their efforts and we expect Rwanda to follow that trend. However, we are determined for victory and we will do our best to achieve our target,” noted Zahoui.
The Elephants are without their captain Didier Drogba because of the concussion he suffered at the weekend while playing for his English Premier League side Chelsea.
Defender Kolo Toure will make his return to football, with his six-month Fifa ban ending yesterday.