Micho plans early assault on Mali

THE AMAVUBI STARS head coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojovic believes today’s international friendly match against Libya at the Amahoro stadium will be a good test for his side ahead of their 2014 World Cup qualifier against Mali to be played on Sunday.
TWO TO WATCH…Amavubi skipper Olivier Karekezi (L) and his assistant Haruna Niyonzima (R), the two most experienced players on the team, during a training session. The New Times / File.
TWO TO WATCH…Amavubi skipper Olivier Karekezi (L) and his assistant Haruna Niyonzima (R), the two most experienced players on the team, during a training session. The New Times / File.

International friendly
Today
Rwanda vs Libya 3.30pm

2014 World Cup qualifier
Sunday
Rwanda vs Mali

THE AMAVUBI STARS head coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojovic believes today’s international friendly match against Libya at the Amahoro stadium will be a good test for his side ahead of their 2014 World Cup qualifier against Mali to be played on Sunday.

And the Serb has challenged his players, who have been underperforming in the last couple of games, to stand up to the task at hand. “It will be a tough game but at the same time, a good test for us because it will help us gauge ourselves in terms of readiness for the weekend. 

We will keep our style as the game is part of our preparations for the world cup qualifier against Mali,” the Serb told Times Sport after Tuesday morning training session.

He added, “This game will be a reality check to our players because it will help me to assess their sharpness and match fitness. This match is equivalent to ten training sessions and it will leave us with so many answers in regards to the progress of the team.”

The coach also confirmed that all players are in camp except Belgium-based defender Solomon Nirisarike, who is expected to arrive on Wednesday.

Libya beat Rwanda 2-0 in an international friendly nearly nine months ago, yet Micho doesn’t seem too concerned about the past.

He said, “We know and have in mind the players we played against nine months ago although they (Libyans) have made a few changes to their squad, but we are ready to test ourselves,”

Libya’s fine form


In the last meeting between the two teams last year, Libya beat Rwanda 2-0 in Tunisia in a friendly as Amavubi were preparing for the first World Cup Brazil 2014 qualifier against Algeria, which Micho’s team lost 4-0.

Libya got their goals through Khalifa Grigma and Hammed El Maghabul, who are both in the current squad and likely to feature prominently in today’s game.

Both goals were a result of a slip up in concentration in defence. Strikers Meddie Kagere, Dady Birori and Olivier Karekezi had Amavubi’s best chances but their attempts came to nothing.

The Serb knows that a positive result against Libya could help his side grow in confidence ahead of their decisive clash against Mali.

Libya remains the only North African team never to have qualified for the finals of the FIFA World Cup, their best chance coming in 1986 when they reached the fourth and final round only to lose 3-1 on aggregate over two matches to Morocco.

Head coach Abdelhafidh Erbish will be relying on striker Ahmed Zuway, Hamd Ahniash and midfielder Marwan Ahmed as some of the reliable players.

In their build-up to Rwanda game, they hammered Senegal 4-0 in Casablanca on Saturday. They lead group I with four points after beating Cameroon 2-1 and a 1-all draw away to Togo in Lome.

Rwanda is bottom with a solitary point making this month’s qualifier against Mali so crucial to the bedraggled Amavubi.

The group H encounter will take place at the Amahoro Stadium on Sunday. Benin leads the group with four points, one above second placed Mali and Algeria.

Match officials

The Kenyan trio of Slyvestre Kirwa, Rage Marwa and Peter Njenga Kiereini will be in charge of the match, while Rwanda’s Issa Kagabo and Burundian Jean Marie Vianney Hicuburundi are the fourth official and match commissioner respectively.

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