Rwanda Vs Ivory Coast
Simba SC midfielder and Amavubi skipper Haruna Niyonzima has advised his teammates that a combination of confidence and determination will be key when Rwanda host Ivory Coast in AFCON qualifiers, Group ‘H’ clash at Kigali Stadium on September 9.
Niyonzima arrived in the country on Tuesday night aboard RwandAir where he immediately linked up with the team in residential at Golden Tulip Hotel in Nyamata.
While speaking to Times Sport on Wednesday, the 28-year old appealed to Amavubi players to have a strong mentality as they prepare to face former African champions.
“We have to give our best against Ivory Coast, winning this game will be a massive boost of confidence ahead of the next group matches. We have a chance to earn points at home, and we have to utilize well,” the former Rayon Sports playmaker said.
Vincent Mashami’s side will be seeking to get the most of home advantage when they host Côte d’Ivoire come September 9 after starting the group campaign with a 2-1 defeat to Central African Republic in Bangui, in June last year.
Rwanda’s Amavubi have been to the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals only once, at the 2004 edition staged in Tunisia.
Newly appointed coach Mashami summoned a 32-man provisional squad for residential camp a fortnight ago and have since been training at Kigali Stadium and Kicukiro Stadium. He is assisted by legend Jimmy Mulisa and Innocent Seninga.
“When we take on Ivory Coast, we need to be focused and determined with a winning attitude. There is no doubt we have the ability and talent, but it all starts with the mindset and how we approach the game,” Niyonzima added.
The 2015 African champions, Ivory Coast, also got off to a low note in the group campaign with a 3-2 home defeat to Guinea.
Amavubi are in Group H with the Ivorians, Republic of Central Africa and Guinea Conakry.
Niyonzima is one of the eight foreign-based players who were named on the provisional squad to face Les Elephants. The rest will join the camp next week.
Solomon Nirisarike (AFC Tubize, Belgium), Faustin Usengimana (Khitan Sports, Kuwait), Djihad Bizimana (Beveren, Belgium), Patrick Sibomana (FC Shakhtyor, Belarus), Meddie Kagere (Simba SC, Tanzania), Jacques Tuyisenge (Gor Mahia, Kenya) and Egypt-based striker Danny Usengimana at Tersana FC