Mashami happy despite defeat to Guinea

Amavubi are at the bottom with no point after losing all their first three games in Group H. They host Guinea in return-leg at Kigali Stadium on Tuesday. Sam Ngendahimana.

Friday

Group H

Guinea          2-0  Rwanda

Ivory Coast   4-0  Central African Republic

The national football team head coach Vincent Mashami says he was impressed by his side’s performance on Friday night in Conakry despite their 2-0 defeat to Guinea in Group H of the ongoing 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers.

Mashami was left disappointed after seeing his team concede easy goals having dominated the match for most parts of time. It was Amavubi’s third consecutive defeat.

François Kamano opened the scoring in the 36th minute from the spot before Ibrahim Cissé doubled the lead in the 73rd minute.

“I am happy with the way they [players] played, I was impressed with the kind of football and mentality they displayed. We keep on improving match by match and I hope that they we’ll play even better when we host Guinea in return leg,” Mashami said.

On the team’s chances of progressing to the next phase, Mashami conceded that it is almost impossible now but rallied the team to try and win the last three matches.

Amavubi created several scoring opportunities in the second half but were let down by the strikers Meddie Kagere and Jacques Tuyisenge, who looked as though they had left the scoring boots in the changing room.

“We have to accept that Guinea were tactically better than us,” he admitted.

Guinea’s coach, Paul Put, was satisfied with his team’s victory, “I am happy with the result. This is the game we wanted to win and edge closer to Afcon ticket. There is no stopping us now.”

Mashami’s men will have no one to blame but themselves for failing to utilize plenty of chances in both halves after commanding the midfield competently. Besides Tuyisenge who failed to score from the spot, Djihad Bizimana, Kagere and Muhadjiri Hakizimana squandered clear opportunities that could have brought Amavubi back in the game.

In the meantime, Guinea arrived in Rwanda on Saturday morning ahead of the two sides’ second-leg clash at Kigali Stadium on Tuesday. The team is accommodated at Marriot Hotel and will be training at Kigali Stadium.

Elsewhere in Group H on Friday, former African champions Ivory Coast humiliated Central African Republic 4-0. Jonathan Kodjia netted opening goal in the 26th, Eric Bailly made it two in the 54th minute, five minutes later Cheick Doukoure netted again for the hosts while Maxwell Corne rounded it off in the 76th minute.

After three match rounds, unbeaten Guinea lead the group standings with nine points, Ivorians are second with six points while Central African Republic are in third position with three points.

Having picked up no point from their last three games, Amavubi are at the bottom of the four-team Group H table.

The group leaders and runner-up will automatically qualify for the 2019 Afcon finals tournament that will be staged in Cameroon.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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