Rwanda v Sudan
Defender Elias Ntaganda has been ruled out of Amavubi Star’s African Nations Championship return leg clash against Sudan this Saturday at Nyamirambo stadium.
The versatile APR defender, nicknamed Mukoranabushake will miss the must-win clash with a damaged knee ligament, which he suffered in Tuesday’s training game between the Ferwafa select and the media select.
“He has damaged his ligament and will miss Saturday’s game but he should be back in time for the first 2010 World/Africa Cup qualifier,” national team doctor Muossa Hakizimana confirmed the unfortunate news.
Midfielders, Haruna Niyonzima and Jean-Baptiste Mugiraneza also missed Tuesday’s training match with slight knocks and face a late fitness test for Saturday’s game.
However, Hakizimana is hopeful the APR pair should be fit and ready to play against Sudan, a match Rwanda is required to win 5-0 or 4-0 to take it into penalty kicks.
Ntaganda’s injury is a blow for Blanko Tucak who faces a daunting task of finding a suitable replacement for the vastly experienced defender who always gives more than 100 percent on the pitch hence the nickname Mukoranabushake.
Meanwhile, Rwanda’s opponents on Saturday arrive today at 11.25am local time aboard Ethiopian Airlines. Initially the Desert Hawks were expected to arrive yesterday but were forced to change their arrival due to difficulties in flight connections from Khartoum to Kigali according to Ferwafa CEO Jules Kalisa.
The Desert Hawks, who thumped Amavubi Stars 4-0 in the first leg in Khartoum a fortnight ago, will reside at Milles Collines hotel.
In the meantime, Amavubi Stars technical staff have been reluctant to put out in public the final squad for Saturdays crunch tie.
In a related development, the Ferwafa select defeated the media select 1-0 in Tuesday’s training match courtesy of Jean Claude Iranzi first half strike.
The Wasps face an uphill task in their bid to qualify for the second round of the inaugural African Nations’ Championship whose finals will be hosted staged in Ivory Coast next year.
The results in Khartoum mean that Sudan will be favourites to qualify on the Rwanda’s expense unless Tucak can cause an unlikely upset and beat the visitors 5-0. Whoever qualifies to the second round between Rwanda and Sudan will meet the winner of Uganda and Tanzanian.
Tanzania leads 2-0 from the first leg with the return leg on this weekend in Kampala. The second leg matches are scheduled for May 16-18, where the finals in Cote d’Ivoire run from February 22 to March 8, next year.