Home form will be vital – officials
Draws for 2010 World Cup and Nations Cup finals in Angola
Rwanda vs Algeria
Zambia vs Rwanda
Egypt vs Rwanda*
Rwanda vs Egypt
Algeria vs Rwanda
Rwanda vs Zambia
Rwanda’s Amavubi Stars can qualify for the next World Cup in South Africa or the African Nations Cup in Angola at worst, Ferwafa CEO has declared.
But on condition that Branko Tucak and his team win all their home matches.
The Amavubi Stars open their campaign on March 28, 2009 at home to Algeria, travel to Zambia on June 6 before winding the first leg matches with a daunting away tie against Egypt on June 20.
And when the second leg matches gets underway, Tucak’s team host the record six-time
African champions, Egypt on September 5, travel to Algeria on October 10 before winding up the campaign with a home clash with Zambia on November 14.
Jules Kalisa made the seemingly over-ambitious declaration soon after the Africa zone draws were made at Fifa headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland on Wednesday.
Kalisa said, “It’s all about having good preparations than we had for the last round. If we could prepare the team as well as possible, anything is possible.”
“To stand a chance, we must set ourselves high standards which include targeting top spot in the group and to achieve that, we must win all our home games. Whatever we get away from home will be bonus.
He added, “We deservedly beat Morocco in the last round, so why not any other team? Egypt are record African champions but with good preparations, anything can happen.”
Kalisa’s sentiments were echoed by Amavubi Stars assistant coach Raoul Shungu but Tucak’s lieutenant was a lot more careful with the wording of his reaction to the draws.
He said, “It will be hard to qualify for World Cup as Egypt will be favourites from our group, however, we have higher chances of playing at the Nations Cup finals in Angola.”
“We shall need to win all our home games, which will give us nine points and put us in a good position to finish in the top three. We can’t afford to finish last in our group,” the Rayon Sports head coach noted.
The Congolese born tactician was speaking from a technical point of view in the absence of his boss Tucak, who was still in Zurich where he and Ferwafa chief Brig.Gen. John Bosco Kazura had gone to attend the draws ceremony.
He added, “Egypt have won the last two African titles. They’re a top side in world football so is Algeria and Zambia none the less, with good preparations; we have a good chance (to play in Angola).”
Improved home form
One factor that plays fairly well in Rwanda’s favor is the fact that Amavubi Stars have got a reasonably good home record in World Cup qualifying competitions in recent years.
Before 2002, Rwanda had a poor record of never having won a single game in a Fifa World Cup qualifying competition.
But since that year, that record has improved with the years and for a country that had also never qualified for the finals of African Cup of Nations before, the Amavubi Stars histrionically piped heavyweights Ghana and Uganda to qualify for the 2004 edition in Tunisia.
In nine home World Cup qualifiers since 2000, Rwanda has won four, drawn three and lost two. The away record has improved recently with wins at Mauritania and Ethiopia in the last round.
During the campaign to qualify for the 2002 world event in Japan and South Korea, Rwanda drew 2-2 at home with Ivory Coast and lost 2-0 away hence getting eliminated at the first stage.
For the 2006 edition in Germany, Amavubi Stars beat Namibia 3-0, Gabon 3-1, lost 0-2 against Zimbabwe, drew 1-1 with Algeria and Nigeria respectively before losing 0-1 against Angola at Amahoro.
Yet, the best news for the fans is that the Tucak’s team are unbeaten at home in the current campaign, winning against Mauritania 3-0 and Morocco 3-1.
They’ve also won twice away from home, 2-1 in Ethiopia and 1-0 in Mauritania. Their only loss was in Morocco 2-0.
But the 1-0 win over Ghana at Amahoro for a place at the 2004 Nations Cup, remains Rwanda’s best result not in terms of the scoreline but significance.
Past meetings with group C rivals
Rwanda and Egypt have only met once in an international friendly in Cairo that the visitors lost 5-1 on January 8, 2004.
There have been two meetings between Rwanda and Algeria before with the first clash in Kigali ending 1-1 before the North African winning 1-0 in Algiers during the road to 2006 World Cup.
And Amavubi have played Zambia’s Chipolopolo on four occasions, losing thrice and drawing once.
Doubt looms over Egypt tie
Egypt will play their first group qualifier against Zambia in Cairo on March 28 or 29 2009.
The Pharaohs will next be up against Algeria away from home before double qualifiers against Rwanda home and away.
However, their home game against Rwanda is subject to postponement as it clashes with the African Champions’ participation the Confederations Cup which will be played between 14 June and 28 June.