RWANDA’S football body, Ferwafa has decided to embark on early preparations for 2012 Africa Nations Cup so as to omit late preparations which cost Amavubi Stars a place in the last edition held in Angola.
According to Ferwafa Chief Executive Officer Jules Kalisa, the team’s technical staff will use the qualifying phase of the 2011 African Nation Championship (CHAN) competition to pick the best Rwandan players with a potential to compete on the international level.
“We hope CHAN competitions will help the country select capable and youth players to represent the country in the qualifiers for 2012 Nations Cup,” Kalisa said, adding that the country will no longer have to rely on foreign players to play for the national team.
“There so much potential among the youth Rwandan players. This is their time to play continental matches and we believe they will qualify the country to the 2012 CAN finals,”
Apart from CHAN, the Amavubi Stars will be subjected to several regional (Cecafa Challenge Cup) and international matches in bid to raise their competitive capability of challenging top footballing nations.
In the main qualifying round which starts next month, Rwanda needs to win its two two-leg ties to secure a place in Sudan.
Amavubi Stars kick off their CHAN quest against Eritrea in the first leg (March 12-14) before hosting the Eritreans two weeks later (March 26-28).
A win over Eritrea, sets up a meeting with the winner between Tanzania and either Somalia and Djibouti in May. Somalia and Djibouti will play a two-leg preliminary match to decide who plays Tanzania in the second round.
If Rwanda manages to win its two games over two legs it will qualify to the finals which will be held in Sudan. Beating Eritrea will be an uphill task for Amavubi Stars and another test will be experienced against Tanzania’s Taifa Stars which is equally a tough side.
CHAN tournament is specifically for players competing in their country’s domestic league. The 2011 CHAN will double in size from eight to 16 teams.
Countries hoping to be in Sudan in two years’ time will qualify from six zones.
Rwanda is grouped in East/Central Zone, which also includes Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Ethiopia and Sudan. Sudan qualifies automatically as hosts of the tournament. Last year Tanzania knocked out Kenya, Uganda and Sudan to qualify for the finals in Ivory Coast.
Then Rwanda can use the tournament to make final touches ahead of the qualifying phase of 2012 Nations Cup finals which would have kicked off at the time.
Players like; Jean Claude Ndoli (APR), Jean Ndayishimiye (APR), Emery Mvuyekure (Electrogaz), Jean Mugiraneza (APR), Patrick Mafisango (APR), Eric Gasana (APR), Haruna Niyonzima (APR, Donatien Tuyizere (Atraco), Aimable Rucogoza (Rayon), Abbas Rassou (APR), Kalisa Mao (APR), Yussuf Ndayishimiye (Rayon), Bonfils Twahirwa (Rayon), Anwar Kibaya (Rayon), Eric Habimana (Rayon), Albert Ngaboyisibo (APR), Emmanuel Sebanani (APR), Didier Kapet Kouin (APR), Jamal Mwiseneza (Rayon), Abdul Karim Gashugi (Police), Jean Claude Iranzi (APR), Tumaine Ntamuhanga (Kiyovu), Idesbald Nshuti (Kiyovu), Amani Uwiringiyimana (Atraco), Aphrodis Mungwarareba(Police) and Amin Mwizerwa (AS Kigali) are favourite beneficiaries in this campaign.
Apart from Mugiraneza, Niyonzima, Rassou, Kapet, Gasana [Mbuyu Twite], Mao and goalkeepers Ndoli and Ndayishimiye, the rest of the players have never featured in any Nations Cup qualifier.
In the previous campaign whose finals were held in Angola, Zambia ended Rwanda’s chances after failure to find the net in the last qualifying game of Group C. Rwanda went on to finished bottom in Group C with two points while Zambia finished 3rd on 4 points.
Rwanda is in Pot 2 in the seedings for the 2012 African Nations Cup finals which will be co-hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
The draws which will determine the country’s opponents in the qualifying phase for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations are set to be held in Lubumbashi, DR Congo on February 21.
Rwanda has a slight chance of not facing the mighty Egypt again or any of the top five footballing nation in her group.
In her seed, Rwanda is joined by Malawi, Morocco, Guinea, Kenya, Sudan, South Africa, Senegal, Uganda, Cape Verde Islands, Congo, Angola and Tanzania.
Pot 1 consists of 13 giants on the continent and this means that they will be split in 13 groups respectively.
Based on the 2008 ACN draw procedure, the first seeded team will be placed with the weakest team from each of the other three pots.
With 51 members and 14 places available, CAF will probably use a system with 12 groups of 4 teams and one with 3 teams, with the winners and the best runner-up qualifying.
However, if at least 3 members don’t enter the qualifying rounds, there will be probably 12 groups of 4 teams with the winners and the top two runners-up joining the hosts in 2012.
The seeding formula is set to be based on the sum of: 2010 WCQ points, bonus for qualifying for the 2010 WC (6 points), 2010 ACN group stage points and 2010 ACN performance bonus.
The seedings are as follows:
Pot 1: Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Algeria, Ghana, Nigeria, Egypt, Burkina Faso, Tunisia, Benin, Mali, Togo, Mozambique, Zambia
Pot 2: Malawi, Morocco, Guinea, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, South Africa, Senegal, Uganda, Cape Verde Islands, Congo, Angola, Tanzania
Pot 3: Zimbabwe, Namibia, Congo DR, Gambia, Libya, Botswana, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Chad, Burundi, Lesotho, Madagascar
Pot 4: Liberia, Mauritania, Niger, Eritrea, Comoros, Seychelles, Mauritius, Somalia, Djibouti, Guinea-Bissau, Central African Republic, Sao Tome e Principe
Probable groups for 2012 Qualifying phase:
Group 1: Côte d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Madagascar, Sao Tome e Principe
Group 2: Cameroon, Angola, Lesotho, Central African Republic
Group 3: Algeria, Congo, Burundi, Guinea-Bissau
Group 4: Ghana, Cape Verde Islands, Chad, Djibouti
Group 5: Nigeria, Uganda, Swaziland, Somalia
Group 6: Egypt, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Mauritius
Group 7: Burkina Faso, South Africa, Ethiopia, Seychelles
Group 8: Tunisia, Sudan, Botswana, Comoros
Group 9: Benin, Rwanda, Libya, Eritrea
Group 10: Mali, Kenya, Gambia, Niger
Group 11: Togo, Guinea, Congo DR, Mauritania
Group 12: Mozambique, Morocco, Namibia, Liberia
Group 13: Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe