Rwanda ready for Burkina Faso challenge
African U-17 Championship
Rwanda v Burkina Faso (1-2), 3:30pm
Zimbabwe v Angola (3-2)
Malawi v Namibia (1-2)
Niger v Côte d’Ivoire (1-2)
Gambia v Ghana (1-3)
Benin v Guinea (0-1)
Cameroon v Eritrea (2-0)
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Rwanda’s U-17 national side take on Burkina Faso this afternoon knowing they’re just a win away from qualifying for their maiden appearance at the finals of next year’s Africa U-17 Championships in Algeria.
Michael Weiss’s side was beaten 2-1 in the first leg a fortnight ago in Ouagadougou but with home advantage, 1-0 win is enough to see Rwanda through to the continental showpiece.
The Junior Wasps have been going through intensive training at Amahoro stadium in preparation for today’s crucial fixture, which is a must-win for the home team.
In the first leg, Weiss’s team was overwhelmed in the midfield by their opponents, and that’s the area the German and his assistant Yves Rwasamanzi have been concentrating on most in training.
APR starlet Hegman Ngoma, the team’s engine in the midfield has been looking good in training, and is expected to reproduce that kind of form this afternoon.
To reach this stage, Rwanda eliminated first Kenya in the first round (3-2) and Sudan (6-1) on goals aggregate in the second round.
A draw only favours Burkina Faso, who beat Tunisia in the last round but with a home advantage, Weiss and so every Rwandan can only think positively.
The match will handled by officials from Egypt and the match commissar comes from Burundi. According to Ferwafa CEO Jules Kalisa, the match proceeds will be shared amongst the players (U-17) as a way of motivating them.
Meanwhile, Burkina Faso arrived in Kigali Wednesday morning aboard Ethiopian Airlines.
Rwanda needs to overturn the 2-1 deficit from the first leg to reach their maiden finals. Only the hosts, Algeria are assured of their place at the biannual championships, which will also serve as qualification for World Cup to be staged in Nigeria the same year.
Of the 14 teams remaining in the race, only Ghana, Eritrea and Burkina Faso were present at the last championship held in Lome, Togo last year.
All four teams lost by a goal margin during the first leg fixtures. The tournament takes place from March 19 to April 3, 2009 in the Algerian capital Algiers.