Nshimiyimana takes failed bid in stride

CRESTFALLEN Amavubi Stars head coach Eric Nshimiyimana has praised his young troops despite failing to qualify for next year’s Africa Nations Championship finals set to be held in South Africa.
Nshimiyimana has praised his young troops despite failing to qualify for next year’s Africa Nations Championship finals. Times Sport/ T. Kisambira.
Nshimiyimana has praised his young troops despite failing to qualify for next year’s Africa Nations Championship finals. Times Sport/ T. Kisambira.

CRESTFALLEN Amavubi Stars head coach Eric Nshimiyimana has praised his young troops despite failing to qualify for next year’s Africa Nations Championship finals set to be held in South Africa.

Nshimiyimana said after the 6-5 penalty loss to Ethiopia that the current crop of Amavubi team players has shown resilience and promise for a brighter future.

“We are totally disappointed at the way we have missed CHAN qualification. This would have been a good platform to help these young players gain experience and even boost their confidence ahead of 2016 CHAN finals in Rwanda,” the ex-Rwandan international midfielder told Times Sport.

“I am proud of my team. They played a good game and I can’t blame them for failure to win in penalties because at that stage, it’s only luck that counts. They played a double role of defending hard and being able to attack in bid to find a goal,” he added. Nshimiyimana acknowledged that despite the missed opportunity, “the future of our CHAN team is very bright. We have missed qualification but we need to keep exposing them in many competitions and I believe by the next edition, Rwanda will be able to contend for the African title.”

The former APR coach was trying to guide Rwanda to the finals of the continent’s second most prestigious showpiece in South Africa following their debut in 2011 in Sudan.

Despite sealing Ethiopia’s place at the 2014 African Nations Championship finals, the Walya Antelopes head coach Sewnet Bishaw lauded the Amavubi team.

“Amavubi played a good game and the determination, zeal and sacrifice they exhibited, they never deserved to lose (qualification) but that is the nature of football, sometimes you don’t get what you deserve,” he stated.  Bishaw admitted that the lack of proper preparations almost cost his team a place in the CHAN finals, “That’s why we were second-best to Rwanda in some intervals but good enough, we managed to go through on penalties.”

“We are happy for the win and this will boost our team as we also seek to qualify for 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil,” added the veteran Ethiopian coach. With a 6-5 win after a 1-all draw aggregate, Ethiopia has joined Nigeria, Mauritania, Morocco, Angola, Ghana, Libya, Uganda, Burkina Faso and hosts, South Africa as the first ten qualified Nations for the championships.

Uganda also qualified for the finals with a 3-1 win in Kampala over overTanzania on Saturday. It completed a 4-1 aggregate victory for coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic’s side in the tournament for locally-based players. Nigeria qualified for their first ever CHAN finals after a 4-3 aggregate win over Ivory Coast, who won Saturday’s second leg 2-0.

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