Rwandan Head Coach Antoine Hey has named the final 18-man squad for Friday’s trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for the 2018 CHAN Play-off qualifier slated on Sunday afternoon.
Rwanda will battle Ethiopia in the first leg away from home before hosting the Ethiopia on November 12 return leg in Kigali in a bid to fill the place at the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) vacated by Egypt.
According to Heys 18-man squad that was released on Thursday evening at Amahoro Stadium, Rayon Sports captain Eric Ndayishimiye will lead the squad and will be assisted by Djihad Bizimana who was part of the 2-0 victory against Uganda in the final qualification round though Rwanda failed to qualify on 3-2 goals aggregate.
The Amavubi squad has eight new faces that included defender; Usengimana Faustin (Rayon Sports Fc), Eric Rutanga (Rayon Sports Fc) and Saddam Nyandwi (Rayon Sports Fc) plus left footed players Celestin Ndayishimiye (Police Fc).
APRs Hakizimana Muhadjiri, Ally and Niyonzima (AS Kigali) as well as Justin s Mico (Police Fc), and Djabel Manishimwe (Rayon Sports Fc) will play take up take up the midfield and attracting role respectively.
“We have no injuries in camp so far all players are very disciplined and focused and there is a perfect atmosphere in camp Hey quoted to have said
He further added, “We have done our research on Ethiopia, I spoke to my colleague Sudanese coach who faced and qualified after beating Ethiopia. I am absolutely sure that if everything goes well, we are the better side and we will qualify but football is unpredictable, so everything is open and this what makes this sport so attractive but again if everything goes according to plan, we are the better side, much better in the FIFA ranking, better individual players,”
The German-born tactician further added that they will have the return leg at home and it’s in their own hands, they can’t blame anyone else if they fail this time to qualify.
“I can only tell you, we are ready, players are ready and I hope in one week, we will have a good reason to celebrate and see a lot of smiling faces” He noted
The Amavubi team departs for Addis Ababa on Friday afternoon at 16:00 aboard Ethiopia Airways and will arrive at 20:45. The team will hold a final training session at Addis Ababa stadium on Saturday afternoon ahead of their first leg qualifier against Ethiopia’s Walia Ibex on Sunday.
Rwanda and Ethiopia are vying for a final place at next year’s CHAN finals following Egypt’s withdrawal after clubs refused to release players as the tournament for home-based footballers is not staged during a FIFA international window.
Egypt were reinstated but pulled out, leaving Ethiopia and Rwanda (qualified) to play each other on November 5 and 12 for a finals place.
Rwanda and Ethiopia and Rwanda were eliminated during the final qualifying round and Confederation of Africa Football body explained that they were given a second chance as “part of a concern for fairness”.
According to CAF rules, qualification is regional, the east will now have three representatives along with the centre and south while the west has five and the north two.
Morocco will host the Nations Championship draw in Rabat on November 17, and the tournament in Agadir, Casablanca, Marrakech and Tangier between January 12 and February 4.
Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo Brazzaville, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Libya, Mauritania, Namibia, Nigeria, Sudan, Uganda and Zambia are the other qualified nations.
Hey’s 18-man squad
Goalkeepers: Ndayishimiye Eric (Rayon Sports Fc) and Nzarora Marcel (Police Fc)
Defenders: Usengimana Faustin (Rayon Sports Fc), Rutanga Eric (Rayon Sports Fc), Nywandwi Sadam (Rayon Sports Fc), Kayumba Soter (AS Kigali), Ndayishimiye Celestin (Police Fc), Iradukunda Eric (AS Kigali) and Manzi Thierry (Rayon Sports Fc)
Midfielders: Bizimana Djihad (APR Fc), Niyonzima Olivier (Rayon Sports Fc), Hakizimana Muhadjiri (APR Fc), Niyonzima Ally (AS Kigali) and Mukunzi Yannick (Rayon Sports Fc)
Forwards: Nshuti Innocent (APR Fc), Mico Justin (Police Fc), Biramahire Abeddy (Police) and Manishimwe Djabel (Rayon Sports Fc).
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