CHAN Qualifiers: Buoyant Amavubi out to sting Ethiopia

Goalkeeper Eric 'Bakame' Ndayishimiye (L) will captain Amavubi against Ethiopia, while his AS Kigali teammate Haruna Niyonzima starts on the bench. File

Ethiopia vs Rwanda 16:00

AMAVUBI will be looking for a vital away victory to extend the national team’s current winning streak to four matches when they face Ethiopia at Mekelle Stadium on Sunday, starting 4pm CAT.

The two teams lock horns in the first leg of their first-round tie for a ticket to the 2020 African Nations Championships (CHAN) finals tournament in Cameroon. The reverse fixture is due October 19 at Kigali Stadium.

And for head coach Vincent Mashami, he will be keen to inspire his side to a second away win within days after Rwanda beat DR Congo in a build-up match in Kinshasa on Wednesday.

Speaking to Sunday Sport in a telephone interview on Saturday, Mashami said that his players were in buoyant mood and fit for the ‘important mission’ in Ethiopia, and urged them not to settle for anything less than victory.

“The game is going to be extremely difficult,” he warned.

“We are ready to give everything for the result we all want – a victory. Every player is optimistic to deliver to their full abilities. Of course, there is pressure to qualify but our focus right now is to win (the first leg) in Ethiopia, and go back home with a healthy advantage.”

Prior to Wednesday’s stunning 3-2 win over the Leopards of DR Congo, Rwanda thrashed the Seychelles 10-0 to reach the group stage of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

In the meantime, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has appointed a Kenyan quartet to handle the game, with Anthony Ogwayo as the central match official while Gilbert Kipkoech Cheruiyot and Tony Kidiya will be assistant referees. The reserve referee is Ogenche Omweno.

Rwanda looks to qualify for the CHAN finals for a fourth time following the 2011, 2016 and 2018 appearances, and a second consecutive time at the expense of Ethiopia.

Amavubi, then under the tutelage of German tactician Antoine Hey, qualified for last year’s CHAN finals tournament – held in Morocco – after beating Ethiopia 3-2 in a two-legged tie.

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