Rwasamanzi aims high ahead of semi-final tie

Yves Rwasamanzi gives instructions to his players during a past training session at Amahoro Stadium. File photo

Friday

Semi-finals
Ethiopia   Vs   Rwanda
Tanzania  Vs   Uganda

Wednesday (Group B)
Ethiopia   4-2  Kenya
Uganda   8-0   Djibouti

Tuesday (Group A)
Rwanda   0-4  Tanzania

RWANDA’s U7 football team head coach Yves Rwasamanzi has said his side will bounce back stronger after suffering a 4-0 rout at the hands of Tanzania in their final group match of Cecafa 2019 Afcon qualifiers on Tuesday.

Despite the heavy defeat, Rwanda progressed to the semi-finals of the 2019 CAF U17 Africa Cup of Nations (U17 AFCON) qualifiers – Cecafa region, in Tanzania.

In Friday’s round of last four, Rwanda will be up against Ethiopia in the first semi-final clash while Tanzania and Uganda will lock horns in the second encounter.

On Wednesday, Ethiopia overcame Kenya 4-2 in Group B while Uganda humiliated Djibouti 8-0 to record the biggest win at the tournament so far.

Tanzanian youngster Kelvin John was the treble hero on Tuesday as the hosts beat Amavubi Starlets 4-0. The 16-year old opened the scoring in the 22nd minute before Agiri Ngonda doubled the lead in the 76th minute, which was followed by a late brace from Kelvin in the 83rd and 90th minutes, to complete his hat-trick on the night.

Rwanda was reduced to ten players after Eric Niyonsenga was shown a second yellow card in the 68th minute.

“I rested many players yesterday (Tuesday) because I wanted the rest of squad members to have a chance to play and adapt in the tournament, so understandably it was not easy to withstand Tanzania at home. But one thing for sure is, we will be charged for the semi-finals,” Rwasamanzi told Times Sport in a telephone interview from Dar es Salaam on Wednesday.

“We are going to do everything we can to reach the final.”

Rwanda booked reached semi-finals as first runners-up in Group A after winning their first two group games against Sudan and Burundi. Tanzania advanced as table leaders with a maximum nine points from three victories over Rwanda, Sudan and Burundi.

The semi-finals of the two-week long qualifiers tournament will be played Friday while the third place playoff and the final are set for Sunday at the 60,000-capacity National Stadium in Dar.

The qualifiers of the Africa U-17 Cup of Nations were modified early this year, with each of the six zones playing at their backyard to produce the winners that will contest for the Cup next year. Tanzania has a direct ticket to the tournament by virtue of being the host nation.

The winner of the competition will represent the Cecafa region in the finals of the CAF Africa U17 Cup of Nations in May next year – also to be staged in Tanzania.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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