Togo v Rwanda
Egypt v Benin
RWANDA’S Amavubi Stars has regrouped ahead of next week’s international friendly match against Togo away in Lome on November 19.
Branko Tucak’s team was expected to have started training yesterday (Tuesday) at Remera artificial turf, eight days before traveling to the West African country.
However, by press time, the federation technical staff had not yet put out the list of players supposed to join camp.
Nonetheless, sources at the federation indicated to New Times yesterday that the team for next Wednesday’s international friendly would involve home based players.
Amavubi’s game against Togo is part of their build-up to the start of the third phase of the 2010 World/Africa qualifiers.
According to the arrangement as agreed on by both countries, Rwanda would meet their travel expenses but other costs while in Lome would be taken care of Togolese football federation.
Rwanda was drawn in group C for the 2010 World Cup/CAN final qualifying round along with Algeria, Egypt and Zambia while Togo were drawn against Morocco, Gabon and Cameroon in group A.
Both Rwanda and Togo sealed their places in the final phase of the qualifiers of the tournament to be held in South Africa among the eight best runners-up.
Togo is a young footballing nation, and the Sparrow Hawks (the nickname for their national team) have only recently found their wings by qualifying for their first Fifa World Cup finals in 2006.
In their group, they would be like an open book for Cameroon coach Otto Pfister, who was their manager in 2006, and even the presence of an established star of the calibre of Arsenal’s Emmanuel Adebayor will not be enough for Togo to be considered favorites in this difficult mission.
On other hand side, Amavubi’s Croatian born coach, Tucak knows that his side is an underdog in group C, and while the chances of staging an upset are real slim, Rwandans would be dreaming of a miracle.
Having failed to qualify for the last two Nations Cup finals, Rwanda must finish inside the top three in Group C to qualify for the 2010 Nations Cup finals in Angola.
The Amavubi Stars open their campaign on March 28, 2009 at home against Algeria, travel to Zambia on June 6 before winding the first leg matches with a daunting away tie against Egypt on July 4 or 5.
In a related development, Amavubi Stars’s rivals in Group C Egypt’s Borussia Dortmund striker, Mohamed Zidan has again been snubbed by Egypt ahead of their friendly against Benin according to Filgoal.
The 26-year-old has not been considered by coach Hassan Shehata since faking an injury in late May ahead of the Pharaohs’ opening 2010 World Cup and African Nations Cup qualifier against the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Then a Hamburg player, Zidan reported a knee problem in order to play a part in the German club’s pre-season preparations, but was found out by the Egypt Football Association (EFA).
Five foreign-based players have been named in squad including Premier League striking duo Amr Zaki of Wigan Athletic and Middlesbrough’s Mido, goalkeeper Essam Al-Hadari from FC Sion, Emad Meteb of Ittihad Jeddah and Ahli Dubai midfielder Hosni Abd-Rabou.
The rest of the squad will be named after the conclusion of the African Champions League final between Al-Ahly and Coton Sport, which the Egyptian giants lead 2-0 after the first leg on November 16.
The two nations will use the November 19 friendly against the Squirrels in Cairo and Togo in Lome as a warm-ups for the final round of World Cup qualifying which gets under way in March.