Vincent Mashami has urged his Amavubi players to maintain momentum when they face Ethiopia after stunning DR Congo in a build-up match in Kinshasa on Wednesday.
Rwanda came from a goal down to beat the Leopards of DR Congo 3-2 at the Stade des Martyrs before flying to Ethiopia on Thursday afternoon.
Speaking to reporters in a post-match interview, Mashami said that his side – and the attack in particular – has significantly improved, noting that “if we maintain the same level of football, there is no doubt we will win in Ethiopia.”
Amavubi take on Ethiopia in the final round of the African Nations Championships (CHAN) qualifiers at Mekelle City on Sunday, with the two-legged tie’s decider scheduled for October 19 at Kigali Stadium.
The aggregate winner will automatically confirm their slot among three countries that will represent the Cecafa region at the CHAN finals tournament in Cameroon next year.
“The boys are coping well and paying attention to every detail in preparations, that is why we were able to beat DR Congo at home.”
In Wednesday’s win, center-back Thierry Manzi, striker Ernest Sugira and midfielder Eric Nsabimana were on target for Mashami’s side, while Ava Dongo and Joel Beya scored for the hosts.
In the meantime, first-choice goalkeeper Yves Kimenyi risks missing the first leg match on Sunday as the local football association looks to avoid sanctions from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) over the player’s double identity.
CAF has raised that Kimenyi’s identification papers in continental club competitions suggest that he was born in 1996, while the service passport he used against Seychelles in World Cup qualifiers earlier this month indicates that he was born in 1992.
However, the team will enjoy the boost of skipper Haruna Niyonzima after missing the two matches against Seychelles over similar conflicting information in the midfielder’s age.
Strictly designed for players who feature in their respective domestic leagues, CHAN was established in 2009, and Rwanda looks to qualify for a fourth time, having only missed the inaugural and 2014 editions.
Then under German coach Antoine Hey, Rwanda qualified for the 2018 CHAN finals in Morocco after ousting Ethiopia following a 3-2 win in Addis Ababa before both sides played out a goalless draw in Kigali.