The national football team (Amavubi) has landed two international friendly matches against Algeria and Sudan as part of preparations for the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) finals that will be held in Morocco from January 12 to February 4, 2018.
Speaking to KT Sports, the Amavubi head coach Antoine Hey said that Rwanda will play Sudan on January 6 and Algeria on January 10, 2018 during their ten-day training camp in Sousse, Tunisia.
He said, “It is very important to give most of our Players playing time. As usual in friendly matches, we have six substitution and I will all use them.
“We have seen at Cecafa Challenge Cup Tournament, that it is a big step from the local League into international football so its important for our Players to get into match fitness early,” added Coach Hey.
The 23-man Amavubi squad without the foreign-based players will regroup on January 1 before travelling to Tunisia the next day.
It will not be the first time that Rwanda and Sudan are facing this year. In August this year, Rwanda edged Sudan 2-1 in a friendly match played in Kigali as Rwanda was preparing to face Uganda in a CHAN qualifier.
Sudan will also be using the friendly match to fine tune ahead of the CHAN tournament, were they are placed in Group A alongside hosts Morocco, Mauritania and Guinea.
Algeria who are not competing in next year’s CHAN tournament will provide a good test to Amavubi who are raring to go past the group stage of the continental tournament.
Rwanda will slug it out against Libya, Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea in Group C that will be based in Tangier.
Group B, which is the closest thing to the group of death, comprises Ivory Coast, Zambia, Uganda and Namibia; they will play the group matches in Marrakech.
Group D has Angola, Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Congo Brazzaville, the games will be staged in Agadir.
The intensified preparations come ahead of the Amavubi exit from the ongoing CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup in Kenya.
Hey’s team suffered two back-to-back defeats against hosts Kenya 2-0 and Zanzibar 3-1 before drawing goalless against Libya. Rwanda’s only victory came against Tanzania (2-1).
Rwanda qualified for CHAN 2018 after beating Ethiopia 3-2 on goal aggregate in two legs. This is the country’s third appearance at CHAN finals since its inception in 2009.
CHAN is a competition which gathers exclusively players featuring in the national championships of their respective countries.
Rwanda took part in the 2011 edition held in Sudan, managing a group stage finish before hosting the 2016 edition where they reached the quarter final round, losing to eventual winners DR Congo.
However, DR Congo will not be able to defend their title as they lost the qualification bid to Congo Brazzaville.