ABOUBA Bashunga, the first choice Rayon Sports goalkeeper, has relished the opportunity to feature for the national team following his maiden Amavubi call-up by head coach Vincent Mashami on Wednesday.
Bashunga, 24, is part of the 27-man provisional Amavubi squad that starts intensive preparations on Monday at Amahoro Stadium ahead of their forthcoming two-legged Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Group H qualifiers against Guinea.
Guinea will host the first-leg on October 12 before the second leg in Kigali four days later.
The former Gicumbi FC goalie re-joined Rayon in June from Kenyan side Mbandali following the unceremonious departure of former skipper Eric ‘Bakame’ Ndayishimiye.
He played a pivotal role as the Blues braved the odds to reach the last eight in the Caf Confederation Cup.
“It is a privilege and great honour to receive my first call-up for Amavubi, I look forward to working hard in camp and hopefully I will be part of the final squad for the two games against Guinea,” Bashunga told Times Sport in an exclusive interview on Thursday.
He added that: “I am ready to fight for a starting spot.”
The goalkeeping sensation who started his football journey with APR Academy in 2009, made his first topflight league appearance with Marines in 2011 – a side he would feature for till end of the 2012/2013 season before joining Gicumbi.
After one season at Gicumbi, the he crossed to league giants, Rayon Sports.
“This is another landmark in my life, the call-up was a total surprise. It is always thrilling to represent my country, but nothing can beat being named on a senior Amavubi squad,” a visibly beaming Bashumba noted.
Other new faces on the team include; Rayon Sports midfielder Djabel Manishimwe and striker Jacques Tuyisenge who plies his trade with Kenyan champions Gor Mahia. They both missed Ivory Coast clash in Kigali a fortnight ago.
Major omissions on the team are; Europe-based central defender Faustin Usengimana (Khitan Sports, Kuwait) and attacking midfielder Patrick Sibomana (FC Shakhtyor, Belarus).
The team will be holding their training sessions at Amahoro Stadium effective Monday through October 8 when they will be departing for Guinea. Amavubi are in Group H along with Ivory Coast, Central African Republic (CAR) and Guinea Conakry.
Guinea, unbeaten so far, lead the table standings with six points, three ahead of second and third-placed Ivory Coast and CAR, respectively, while Amavubi are at the bottom with no point after two match days.