Benin vs Rwanda - 4pm
Algeria vs Benin - 9pm
AMAVUBI STARS head coach Eric Nshimiyimana will be seeking to guide his troops to an away win against Benin when the two countries meet Sunday afternoon, kick off 4pm, in the final Group H Fifa 2014 World Cup qualifier at Stade Charles de Gaulle in Porto Novo.
Before the team’s departure last week, Nshimiyimana acknowledged that some of his players are still low in terms of fitness levels due to the fact the local season is yet to start and most teams only began pre-season training just a over a month ago.
However, despite not having a fully-fit squad, Nshimiyimana, whose team sits bottom of the table with two points from five matches, says he will be taking the final second round qualifying phase clash against Benin seriously.
“Despite failing to make it to the next round, we have to fight for our pride and in doing so we have to play well and ensure that we get a positive result, you know we need to improve our Fifa ranking, and that can only be achieved by getting good results in international matches,” Nshimiyimana said.
He added, “We are not going to Benin for an adventure but rather for a serious reason, and God willing we will return home with victory, it is going to be tough but we have won there before and I believe we can do it again.”
Benin is ranked 113th in the World, while Rwanda is in a distant 131st position according to the August Fifa rankings. The corresponding fixture played last year in Kigali ended in a 1-all draw.
Amavubi will need to repeat the magic that saw the team, under Nshimiyimana as care-taker coach after Branko Tucak’s exit two years ago, post a shock 1-0 win on their last visit to Benin with debutant striker Meddie Kagere netting the solitary goal.
Benin is placed third in the group with five points.
Still in Group H, Algeria will host Mali in a dead-rubber qualifier in Blida on Tuesday, with the home side having already booked their place in the next round.
Mali need a point to ensure they finish in second in the pool, but it will be scant consolation for a country that has finished third in the last two Africa Cup of Nations competitions and might have expected to make the final round of qualifying at least.
This was especially so after a 2-1 victory over the Algerians earlier in qualifying that gave them pole position in the pool, but having been held to home draws by Rwanda and Benin, their chances faded.
The two countries have a remarkably even record in past meetings, with seven wins apiece and a single draw in their 15 games.
Algeria tops Group H with 12 points, while second-placed Mali are four points adrift with one game still to be played.
The 10 group winners go into a draw on September 18 for five two-legged playoff matches in October and November, which will determine Africa’s representatives at the finals in Brazil.