Mashami hails players after sealing CHAN spot

Amavubi head coach Vincent Mashami (L) and members of his technical staff celebrate after fighting back to draw 1-1 with Ethiopia at Kigali Stadium on Saturday. Rwanda had won 1-0 the first-leg last month. / Courtesy

AMAVUBI head coach Vincent Mashami has praised his side’s fighting spirit after seeing off Ethiopia to secure their spot at the 2020 African Nations Championships (CHAN) finals tournament.

Rwanda edged Ethiopia 2-1 on aggregate after both sides played out a 1-all draw in the second leg at Kigali Stadium on Saturday.

Ernest Sugira scored late to salvage a crucial draw for the hosts after Lemene Tafesse had put Ethiopia ahead in the 72nd minute. The APR striker was also the lone scorer in last month’s 1-0 win in Ethiopia.

“The players displayed a high level of maturity and fighting spirit,” said Mashami.

“We showed that we are not a team that gives up, that we can fight back. My ambition as coach is to continue winning and giving confidence to my players as we now shift focus on AFCON Qualifiers.”

“Obviously there is room for improvement.”

With the victory, over the two legs, Rwanda has now made it to the continental showpiece’s three consecutive editions, and twice at the expense of Ethiopia’s Walias, having also brushed them aside en route to the 5th CHAN edition in Morocco last year.

Strictly reserved for players who feature in their respective domestic leagues, Rwanda will represent the Cecafa region in the CHAN 2020 – along with Uganda and Tanzania. The latter saw off Sudan while Uganda booked their ticket after beating Burundi.

Come next year, Rwanda will be making her fourth appearance in Africa’s second-biggest football tournament out of six editions since its inception in 2009, having only missed the inaugural and 2014 editions.

Full 16-team list for CHAN 2020:
Burkina Faso, Cameroon (hosts), Republic of Congo, DR Congo, Guinea, Mali, Morocco, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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