Rwanda will prepare for next month’s Rio 2016 Olympic qualifier against Somalia with a friendly match against South Africa’s under-23 side on March 25 in Johannesburg.
Rwanda’s interim head coach and technical director Lee Johnson expressed content at the confirmation from the South Africa Football Association (Safa) and admitted that it is such games that will grant exposure to the young players.
“To move forward as a country, we do need games. We are trying to adopt a list of international fixtures because it gives us structure and we can plan for things,” mentioned Johnson who was in charge of the Rwandan outfit in a goalless draw against Tanzania in January in Mwanza following Stephen Constantine’s resignation.
Rwanda will host the 2016 African Nations Championship (Chan) from January 16-February 7 and a list of international fixtures will be crucial in preparing the home side, according to Johnson.
“Without competition, our players will never improve so it is crucial especially with Chan coming up; we need to provide our players with some really good opposition because without such exposure, our players will not know what to do in some situations during games. With the uner-23 side, there is some little bit of experience and decent players coming through but they need that experience,” explained Johnson.
Rwanda will host Somalia on the weekend of April 24-25 and will travel to Somalia for the return leg set for the weekend of May 8-9.
The winner between this tie will face Uganda in the second round and the victor will meet Egypt in the third round.
The winner will then qualify for the 2015 Caf U-23 championship that will be held in the Democratic Republic of Congo from December 5-19 attracting eight teams and the top three will qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympics in Brazil.