The national football team head coach Antoine Hey has vowed that his team will go for nothing less than victory against Central African Republic in their first 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on Sunday in Bangui.
The Amavubi delegation that includes 18 players, technical staff and officials was expected to fly out of the country to Bangui on Friday morning aboard Kenya Airways.
Rwanda are ranked 125th in FIFA rankings, two places above Central African Republic.
Rwanda was drawn in Group H for AFCON 2019 qualification campaign along with Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea and Central African Republic. Amavubi will begin the campaign seeking to qualify for the second time having made their debut in 2004 in Tunisia.
Amavubi will face Central African Republic a day after Côte d’Ivoire hosts Guinea in Abidjan. The remaining fixtures will be played between March and November 2018.
The winner of each group, along with the best three second placed teams, will qualify for the finals tournament in Cameroon.
“Overall, the preparations have gone pretty well. We have tried to work on every aspect of our game and how best we can approach the game, which we obviously expect to be tough,” Hey said during a news conference held on Thursday at FERWAFA headquarters in Remera.
Amavubi held double training sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday and one on Thursday. The team will hold one more training session in Bangui on Saturday before the game on Sunday.
The German tactician further noted that, “We played two games against Morocco and we won both and that is big motivation for us, we will go into the game on Sunday in high spirits and aiming for a good result.”
“I am very happy for the commitment and determination of the players because they want to give everything and we are supporting them as much as we can,” he added.
Hey dropped Bugesera FC goalkeeper Olivier Kwizera to reduce the number of players from 19 to 18. The squad includes two goalkeepers, four defenders, five wing backs, two holding midfielders, two attacking midfielders and three strikers.
Talking about his players, Hey said, “They are really trying hard and we have no injuries. I know my players will give everything to get the result we need. My job is to give them a plan on how to play and encourage them.”
This will be Hey’s first competitive match with the Amavubi.
Ivory Coast vs Guinea
CAR vs Rwanda
Amavubi 18-man squad
Goalkeepers: Eric Ndayishimiye (Rayon Sports) and Marcel Nzarora (Police FC)
Defenders: Thierry Manzi (Rayon Sports), Emery Bayisenge (KAC Kénitra, Morocco), Aimable Nsabimana (APR FC) and Salomon Nirisarike (AFC Tubize, Belgium), Michel Rusheshangoga (APR FC), Emmanuel Imanishimwe (APR FC), Dominique Savio Nshuti (Rayon Sports), Jean-Claude Iranzi (MFK Topvar Topolcany, Slovakia), and Fitina Omborenga (MFK Topvar Topolcany, Slovakia).
Midfielders: Olivier Niyonzima (Rayon Sports), Jean-Baptiste Mugiraneza (Gor Mahia, Kenya), Djihad Bizimana (APR FC), and Haruna Niyonzima (Young Africans, Tanzania).
Strikers: Danny Usengimana (Police FC), Ernest Sugira (AS Vita, DR Congo) and Jacques Tuyisenge (Gor Mahia, Kenya).