Rwanda striker Ernest Sugira is nursing a right ankle injury that makes him doubtful for the upcoming Afcon 2017 qualifier against Mozambique on June 4 at Amahoro Stadium in Kigali.
Sugira, who was replaced at half time last Saturday in the friendly against Senegal, has been undergoing treatment from the Amavubi medical department and is expected to face a fitness test on Friday.
The 25-year old is being closely monitored by physiotherapist Patrick Rutamu and team doctor Moussa Hakizimana around the clock in a bid to get the star striker fit in time for the crucial tie.
Rwanda coach Johnny McKinstry said: “We are monitoring Ernest’s progress on a day by day basis. He is working hard with the medical team to be ready for Saturday, and we will make a decision closer to the game on what role he can play.”
Sugira scored his debut goal for Rwanda against Mozambique last June in Maputo, a lone strike that secured Amavubi’s first away win in four years to commence the Afcon 2017 qualifiers on a high note.
The towering striker followed up that performance with three important goals for Rwanda at Chan 2016 including a brace against Gabon that earned Amavubi a place in the quarterfinals for the first time at a major football competition.
His contribution to Amavubi has since been of massive importance as he also scored a brace in the memorable 5-0 win against Mauritius in March in the Afcon 2017 qualifiers at Amahoro Stadium.
However, McKinstry has other options in the Rwanda Premier League top scorer Danny Usengimana as well as Gor Mahia’s Jacques Tuyisenge.
“Regardless of Sugira’s status, we have two other in-form strikers in Jacques Tuyisenge, who has taken to life in the KPL very well and Danny Usengimana who is the top goal scorer in the Rwanda Premier League.
“And not only has Danny scored 14 goals this season but people should also note that he is not the Police penalty taker, and has also often played on the right as opposed to being the central striker.
“Such a goal tally from open play in a wide position is very promising for a young player. As such, I am sure that both can play a pivotal role come Saturday.
The 20-year old Usengimana, who features for Police FC in the topflight league, has been impressive and could be lead Amavubi’s charge upfront against Os Mambas in the search for maximum points.
Rwanda sits second in Group H with six points from four games with Mauritius who host Ghana in Belle Vue tied on points in third place.
The last time Rwanda competed at Afcon was 2004 in Tunisia and a second appearance is on the cards but first victory on Saturday will keep their hopes alive