Amavubi eager to sting Malawi

AMAVUBI want to fly higher than the Flames of Malawi this afternoon in an international friendly match as they prepare for September’s 2014 World Cup qualifier against Benin.
Coach Eric Nshimiyimana giving final rehearsal tips to amavubi defenders. Amavubi take on Malawi in an international friendly match this afternoon at Stade de Kigali. The New Times / T....
Coach Eric Nshimiyimana giving final rehearsal tips to amavubi defenders. Amavubi take on Malawi in an international friendly match this afternoon at Stade de Kigali. The New Times / T....

AMAVUBI want to fly higher than the Flames of Malawi this afternoon in an international friendly match as they prepare for September’s 2014 World Cup qualifier against Benin.

Coach Eric Nshimiyimana told Times Sport yesterday that beating Malawi was imperative for building confidence for the team’s away clash on September 8.

Though Amavubi’s dream of going to the World Cup in Brazil in 2014 ended, Nshimiyimana is focused on getting his squad in best possible shape to beat Benin.

“The game against Malawi is a huge one for us. It will be a good test for us, keeping in mind that this is our preparation for our game against Benin,” Nshimiyimana said.

“I want my team to go out there and beat Malawi. We need to expose our young players to such kind of strong encounters to enable them gain exposure and experience. Malawi has a strong team but now is the time for us to stand up and show that we’ve also got quality,” added Nshimiyimana.

Malawi have brought their strongest possible squad, which is without four of their key players captain Joseph Kamwendo, Chiukepo Msowoya, Essau Kanyenda, Robert Ng’ambi, and Foster Namwela. They all  pulled out due to different reasons.

Coach Tom Saintfiet said the development was a setback but said he has good players to tame  Rwanda. 

“The main aim of this game was for me to assess the foreign based players and already five of them have pulled out so it is really setback. But we still have a good squad that will help us get the results in Rwanda,” he said. 

Rwanda will also play the friendly match without several key players. According to Rwanda media, coach Eric Nshimiyimana will miss the services of midfielder Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza who is currently in Nairobi with the Rwanda Military team.

Amavubi will go into this encounter without first choice players goalie Jean Claude Ndoli, Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza and the professional trio of Dady Birori [AS Vita], Olivier Karekezi [CA Bizertin] and Salomon Nirisarike [Antweerp]

The last time the two sides clashed was at 2012 Cecafa Challenge Cup in Kampala, Uganda where Rwanda triumphed 2-0 in the group stages.

Both sides have a record of having won twice and lost twice against each other in four of the matches that have pitted the two national teams.

Meanwhile, Egypt host Uganda in a friendly in the coastal town of El Gouna, 430km from Cairo, due to the political unrest and security issues in the capital.

The Pharaohs are also through to the next round of World Cup qualifiers after picking up 15 points in Group G, while second placed Guinea have 10 points.

 “This is a very important friendly because it’s against a giant side,” said Cranes coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojovic whose team last week improved to 77th place in the latest Fifa rankings.

Elsewhere, African champions Nigeria meet South Africa in Durban in arguably the pick of the friendly games.

Ivory Coast welcome Didier Drogba back to their squad for the first time since the Africa Cup of Nations. The 35-year-old striker is on Sabri Lamouchi’s 23-man squad for the encounter  with Mexico on  August 14.

The Elephants are among the three teams already through to the play-offs, with one game left to play in the second round, which concludes between 6 and 10 September.

The Guineans travel to Blida next week to meet Algeria - the third team assured of a qualifying play-off place.

The 2012 Nations Cup champions Zambia - who lie second in their qualifying group behind Ghana - play Senegal in Paris tonight.

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