Constantine optimistic ahead of Congo qualifier

THE national team will register a positive result away to Congo Brazzaville in the first leg of the final preliminary round of qualifiers for the Africa Cup of Nations slated for Sunday in Pointe-Noire. Amavubi head coach Stephane Constantine has said.
Jean-Baptiste Mugiraneza (L), seen against Libya in the past qualifier, will be Amavubi’s key player in the midfield when Rwanda takes on Congo away in Pointe-Noire on Sunday. (Timothy Kisambira)
Jean-Baptiste Mugiraneza (L), seen against Libya in the past qualifier, will be Amavubi’s key player in the midfield when Rwanda takes on Congo away in Pointe-Noire on Sunday. (Timothy Kisambira)

2015 Afcon Qualifier

Sunday
Congo vs Rwanda 

THE national team will register a positive result away to Congo Brazzaville in the first leg of the final preliminary round of qualifiers for the Africa Cup of Nations slated for Sunday in Pointe-Noire. Amavubi head coach Stephane Constantine has said.

His optimism follows a good start in the previous game against Libya.

“We had a good start after eliminating Libya. We did everything we could to win that game. Players worked extremely hard in the two weeks that we had to prepare for the game and I think we deserved to win that game,” Constantine told Times Sport.

Regarding the next game against Congo, Constantine said it will be a very difficult game because they will take on a very good side with a good coach who has been around for so long.

But Constantine was fast to add, “But we are also a good side and I also have good experience. We are going to try and take the result. I think its 50-50 at the moment; we have good players who have worked very hard. The atmosphere in the camp is superb, perhaps the best atmosphere I have seen in the team.” 

The coach noted that the players believe in themselves and will give everything they have to win. 

“I expect to get a result in Brazzaville and come back to finish the business in Kigali and hopefully we will qualify,” added former Sudan and Malawi coach Constantine. 

Amavubi team departed for Congo Brazzaville yesterday with a 30-man delegation comprised of 20 players. They will connect to Pointe-Noire on Friday ahead of Sunday’s game. 

Amavubi defeated 2014 Chan champions Libya by scoring three unanswered goals in Kigali following a goalless draw while the Red Devils got past Namibia in the previous round with a 3-1 aggregate victory. 

Both teams will be relying on a strong base of local players with Dolisie’s AC Léopards and reigning champions APR being the main providers for Congo and the Rwanda squad respectively. 

African champions in 1972, Congo have not qualified to Afcon finals since the 2000 edition of the continental competition, and will try to secure a seventh appearance under the leadership of Africa Cup’s specialist Claude Leroy. 

As for Rwanda, they will be gunning for a second appearance after the 2004 success in Tunisia. 

The return game will be played in Kigali on August 2, with the overall winners set to join South Africa, Nigeria and Sudan in the Group stage of the qualifiers in Group A. 

Amavubi squad: Jean Claude Ndori, Jean Luc Ndayishimiye, Haruna Niyonzima, Medie Kagere, Jean Baptista Mugiraneza, Jean Claude Iranzi, Emery Bayisenge, Dady Birori, James Tubane, Jacques Tuyisenge, Jerome Sina, Ismail Nshutiyamagara, Andrew Buteera, Abouba Sibomana, Patrick Sibomana, Ngirinshuti Mwemere, Michel Rusheshangoga, Peter Kagabo, Michel Ndahinduka, Robert Ndatimana.

Twitter: @BonnieMugabe

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