The National Women Team, ‘She-Amavubi’, yesterday started residential training ahead of Cecafa Women Challenge Cup which runs from May 11-22 in Kigali.
The tournament will attract eight countries, namely; Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Burundi, Ethiopia, Djibouti and hosts Rwanda. Eritrea, Sudan and South Sudan are yet to confirm participation.
The Rwandans held their first phase of preparations last week which attracted 40 players after which coach Jean Baptiste Kayiranga trimmed the squad down to 30 players.
The selected players are staying at La Palisse Hotel in Nyamata and will hold training sessions at Ferwafa turf until Thursday when they will be released back to their clubs.
Rwanda will be aiming to win the tournament for the first time but faces strong opposition from defending champions Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Kenya who have had competitive women teams in recent international competitions.
At the 2016 edition in Uganda, the She-Amavubi, then under the tutelage of Grace Nyinawumuntu, were eliminated in the group stage after suffering defeats to Tanzania and Ethiopia.
Tanzania eventually won the trophy after beating Kenya in the final while Ethiopia overcame hosts Uganda to take third place.
Before 2016, the tournament had not taken place since 1989. World football governing body (FIFA) offered US$330,000 (about Rwf277.8 million) towards this year’s Cecafa Women Challenge Cup.
The provisional 30-woman squad
Goalkeepers: Judith Nyirabashyitsi (AS Kigali), Helene Uwizeyimana (AS Kigali) and Zakia Umubyeyi (Scandinavia).
Defenders: Joselyne Mukantaganira (AS Kigali), Anne Marie Nyirahabimana (Scandinavia), Sifa Uwanyirigirira (AS Kigali), Milliam Nyiransanzebera (Kamonyi), Edith Umulisa (Scandinavia), Louise Maniraguha (AS Kigali), Immacule Uwimbabazi (Kamonyi), Constance Muhawimana (Inyemera), Jeanne Claire Mataye Uwamahoro (AS Kigali), and Angelique Umwizerwa (AS Kigali).
Midfielders: Gloria Sifa Nibagwire (Scandinavia), Alice Karimba (AS Kigali), Jeannette Mukeshimana (AS Kigali), Marta Nyiramwiza (AS Kigali), Dorothe Mukeshimana (AS Kigali), Kevine Uwihirwe (Scandinavia) and Diane Umumararungu (Kamonyi).
Forwards: Dudja Umwaliwase (AS Kigali), Marie Claire Mushimiyimana (Scandinavia), Yvonne Umuhoza (ES Mutunda), Anne Marie Ibangarye (Scandinavia), Lyberata Ntibagwire (AS Kigali), Sophie Madudu Niyomugaba (AS Kigali), Callixte Iradukunda (AS Kigali), Djamila Mwiza Abimana (Scandinavia), Florence Manizabayo (AS Kigali), and Clautilde Ufitinema (AS Kigali).