47 DAYS TO GO
THE Amavubi and U-20 midfielder Jean Baptist Mugiraneza is confident about Rwanda’s chances of winning the 16th African Youth Championships set for January 18-February 1 on home soil.
Mugiraneza a.k.a Migi told Times Sport yesterday that Rwanda has higher chances of not only reaching the last four in next year’s continental youth championship but also to win it.
“We have quality opposition in our group but I believe we shall qualify for the semifinals,” acknowledged the APR players, who’s also a permanent feature on the senior Amavubi team.
The former Kiyovu star noted that most of his teammates at the U-20 level have gained enough experience playing with senior Amavubi side during the 2010 World/Africa Cup qualifiers, something that gives them a good foundation to put up a good show in next year’s event.
However, on the downbeat side, the towering midfielder cited lack of competitive matches to keep the youth team in good shape for next year’s African youth championship.
“We have not had enough build up matches against quality opposition to put us in a better position nevertheless we will go in that championship with one thing on our mind, and that’s to win it,” added Mugiraneza.
Besides Mugiraneza, Tomislav Obradovic has several other experienced players in his team’s ranks like Rayon Sports defender Aimable Rucogoza as well as APR pair of Haruna Niyonzima and Jean Claude Iranzi as he hopes to guide Rwanda to her maiden continental championship title in addition to qualifying for the Fifa U-20 World Cup finals.
Rwanda faces Mali, Cameroon and Ghana in Group A while Group B is made up of Nigeria, Ivory Coast, South Africa and Egypt.
Hosts Rwanda, which was seeded for the draw, will open the competition against Mali at Amahoro stadium on January 18, 2009 before another cracker sees Ghana taking on arch rivals Cameroon.
It will be the first time a tournament of such magnitude will be played in the Cecafa region.
Rwanda needs only to reach the semi-finals of next year’s African Youth Championships to be assured of a place at the World Youth Championships finals to be hosted by Egypt.