Vincent Mashami, the Amavubi head coach, has admitted that the loss of striker Jacques Tuyisenge is a big blow for Amavubi as they gear up to host former African champions Ivory Coast in an AFCON Group H qualifier on September 9.
The two teams are part of a four-country group along with the Central African Republic (CAR) and Guinea Conakry.
Tuyisenge played a pivotal role when Rwanda reached the last eight of the 2016 African Nations Championships (CHAN) staged in Rwanda.
Since joining record 17-time Kenyan champions Gor Mahia in February 2016, the former Police FC skipper who captained a largely youthful Amavubi side in the CHAN tournament, has been the most influential asset in the club’s win of two league titles in a row.
But the Rwanda international hurt his neck during their CAF Confederation Cup’s Group D clash against Rayon Sports on August 19 and was advised by his club doctors to take some time to recover after aggravating the injury against Algeria’s USM Alger last week.
During Gor Mahia’s 2018 season, Tuyisenge scored 11 goals in the SportPesa Kenya Premier League and netted three times in the Caf Confederation Cup. Gor were denied a ticket to the quarter-finals by Group D rivals USM Alger and Roberto Oliveira’s Rayon Sports.
While speaking to Times Sport on Monday, Mashami admitted that the absence of injured Tuyisenge poses a serious setback to his side’s bid for a victory against Les Elephants but his presence in camp will provide a huge boost to his teammates.
“Jacques (Tuyisenge) will not be part of the squad to face Ivory Coast. However, he is set to join camp on September 5, and I hope his presence will have a great impact,” the former APR coach said.
The 26-year-old was one of the nine foreign-based players called up for the much awaited encounter at Kigali Stadium.
Rwanda and Ivory Coast have faced each other three times in the last eight years. First in 2010 when The Elephants beat Amavubi 3-0 in Abidjan before routing them 5-0 in Kigali the following year during the qualifiers for the 2012 AFCON finals.
At the 2016 CHAN finals in Rwanda, the hosts stunned Ivory Coast 1-0 in the tournament's opener.