AFCON 2021 Qualifiers: Rwanda eye winning start in Mozambique

Jean Claude Iranzi (R) seen here during the last time Rwanda and Mozambique met in 2016 in Kigali, is part of Amavubi’s 23-man squad to face Mozambique on Thursday. Sam Ngendahimana.

Thursday

Mozambique Vs Rwanda 18:00

HARUNA Niyonzima, the national football team skipper, has challenged his teammates to ‘give it everything’ when Rwanda take on Mozambique in the two sides’ first match in Group F of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers.

The game gets underway at 6pm CAT, in Maputo.

Rwanda beat Mozambique 1-0 in Maputo, the country’s capital, during the AFCON 2017 qualifiers, and Niyonzima is optimistic that the June 2015 victory will inspire him and his teammates to fight for another win at Estadio Nacional do Zimpeto.

“We have had good preparations, everyone is ready to give it their best. We won here a few years ago, but certainly we won’t take anything for granted,” said Niyonzima.

After Thursday’s game, Amavubi will immediately turn focus to the second qualifier against Cameroon, which Vincent Mashami’s side will host at Kigali Stadium on Sunday.

“We have a busy week. We have Cameroon within 72 hours after Mozambique, but right now it is very important that players focus on the task at hand,” said Mashami, the Amavubi head coach.

Mashami reckons that his players have gained a great deal of confidence given the way they played in the last couple of games in CHAN and World Cup Qualifiers, and, he believes, winning away to Mozambique is a ‘very’ possible feat.

On his team’s chances of qualifying to the AFCON 2021 finals tournament, Mashami said: “It is going to be a difficult journey, but I think we have a better chance now than we have had in a long time. And, qualifying is our ultimate goal.”

Cape Verde is the other member of Group F, from which the best two sides will automatically secure their tickets to the 2021 showpiece of the continent’s biggest football event.

Rwanda has only been to the AFCON finals once, at the 2004 edition in Tunisia.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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