Mashami confident Amavubi can qualify for AFCON 2021

Vincent Mashami was appointed as Amavubi head coach last year. / File

AMAVUBI head coach Vincent Mashami insists that Rwanda has a chance to – finally, again – qualify for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals tournament.

However, he says that “It will all be down to how we prepare.”

This follows Thursday’s draws where Rwanda was placed in Group F along with giants Cameroon, Cape Verde and Mozambique.

Rwanda has not taken part in the continent’s biggest football showpiece since its 2004 edition in Tunisia.

“We have a lot of work to do, but I am confident we can qualify. It is a fair draw given the teams we have been drawn against,” Mashami told Saturday Sport on Friday.

The draws were held at Marriott Hotel in Zamalek, Egypt, during the 32nd CAF General Assembly.

“The group looks relatively easy, but we will definitely face stiff opposition from each of the teams. It will all come down to how we prepare,” he noted.

The former APR coach also appealed to the Ministry of Sports (Minispoc) and the local football governing body (Ferwafa) to help the team with early preparations and international friendly matches before engaging in qualifiers.

The 48 teams that will undergo the qualification process, which starts on November 11, have been placed under 12 groups of four countries each.

Each group will send its top two teams to the 2021 AFCON, to be held in Cameroon.

Cameroon, the 2017 African champions, have not hosted AFCON finals since 1972.

The first and second games in the groups will be played on November 11-19, 2019 with the third and fourth slated between August 31 and September 8, 2020.

The fifth match round will be staged on October 2-13, while the final round is scheduled for November 9-17.

With Rwanda rocked in the 136th position in the current FIFA rankings, Mashami’s side will have an uphill task to overcome better-ranked Cameroon who are ranked 51st, Cape Verde in 76th place and Mozambique who lie 117th.

Mashami was appointed as Amavubi head coach, on a one-year deal, in August 2018.