Skipper Niyonzima dropped for CAR tie

Amavubi captain Haruna Niyonzima (left) and midfielder Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza will not be part of the team to face Central African Republic at Huye Stadium on November 18. File photo.

AMAVUBI head coach Vincent Mashami will be without his captain Haruna Niyonzima during the clash against Central African Republic (CAR) when the two national teams face off at Huye Stadium next week.

Rwanda will be hosting CAR in a return-leg Group H clash in the ongoing qualifiers for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) due in Cameroon.


CAR beat Amavubi 2-1 in the first-leg, in June last year.


Noticeably, Niyonzima was left out of the provisional squad – which was released on Tuesday – along with long-serving midfielder Jean Baptiste ‘Migi’ Mugiraneza and South Africa-based goalkeeper Olivier Kwizera as the major omissions.


On the 26-man squad, five are new players who were not considered in any of Amavubi’s previous four group games, including Belgium-based duo of Steve Rubanguka and Tresor Shema, who received their maiden call-ups in the national team.

Other new faces in the team are; Mukura right-back Hassan Rugirayabo, SC Kiyovu midfielder Rachid Kalisa, Mohamed Mushimiyimana of Police FC and forward Justin Mico who plies his trade with Kenyan side Sofapaka.

“We assessed each player on equal grounds, and the squad was named after several discussions with my technical team. We need to start building a team for the future, that’s why we put together a relatively youthful squad for CAR game,” Mashami told the media at Rwanda Football Association (Ferwafa) headquarters on Tuesday.

He added that, “Players who have not made the cut today should not give up, but, rather work hard for future competitions. They need to stay focused.”

Amavubi will play Les Fauves on November 18 at Huye Stadium, in Huye District, before winding up their group campaign against Ivory Coast in March next year.

After four match rounds, Rwanda remain at the bottom of Group H with one point, three adrift of third-placed CAR.

Guinea top the table with 10 points, three ahead of second-placed Ivory Coast.

Full 26-player squad:

Goalkeepers:Yves Kimenyi (APR), Abouba Bashunga (Rayon) and Omar Rwabugiri (Mukura)

Defenders: Solomon Nirisarike (Tubize, Belgium), Abdoul Rwatubyaye (Rayon), Herve Rugwiro (APR), Thierry Manzi (Rayon), Fitina Ombalenga (APR), Emmanuel Imanishimwe (APR), Eric Rutanga (Rayon) and Hassan Rugirayabo (Mukura)

Midfielders:Olivier Niyonzima (Rayon), Yannick Mukunzi (Rayon), Djihad Bizimana (Waasland-Beveren, Belgium), Andrew Buteera (APR), Ally Niyonzima (AS Kigali), Jean Claude Iranzi (APR), Steve Rubanguka (Patromaasmeshelen, Belgium), Amran  Nshimiyimana (APR), Rachid Kalisa (SC Kiyovu), Mohamed Mushimiyimana (Police)

Forwards:Meddie Kagere (Simba, Tanzania), Jacques Tuyisenge (Gor Mahia, Kenya), Danny Usengimana (Terrasan, Egypt), Tresor Shema (Torhout 1992KM FC, Belgium) and Justin Mico (Sofapaka, Kenya)

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