Mulisa hails his players despite DR Congo draw

DR Congo’s Alidor Kayembe (on the ball) tries to penetrate through the Rwandan defence during the two sides’ goalless draw at Umuganda Stadium on Wednesday. Courtesy.

Rwanda U23 coach Jimmy Mulisa has praised his players for ‘strong mentality’ despite playing out a goalless draw with DR Congo in the first-leg of their two-legged first round tie in the qualifiers of the 2019 Africa U-23 Cup of Nations.

For Rwanda to advance to the second round, due in March next year, Mulisa’s men will need a win or draw of goals when the two sides meet in the second leg in Kinshasa on Tuesday.

“I think we played well compared to the strong side we faced. We are not satisfied with the draw but the boys did great. If we play calmly in the midfield and improve our attack, winning in Kinshasa won’t be as hard as it sounds,” Mulisa said in a post-match interview.

Considering that the youthful side had less than a week together in camp and did not play a single friendly match, they perfomed fairly well but fell short when it came to breaking down their opponents’ defence.

Mulisa further noted that, “It would be premature to promise that we will eliminate DRC, especially since we didn’t win the home game, but definitely we will do everything possible to go through.”

The Rwandan Olympic team has four days to prepare for the return-leg encounter.

The winner between DR Congo and Rwanda will face Morocco in the penultimate round in March 2019.

The tournament, slated for November 8-22, 2019 in Egypt, will determine three teams that will represent Africa at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan.

This will be the 3rd edition of Africa U-23 Cup of Nations.