The Rwanda National Women football team head coach, Kayiranga Jean Baptista is optimistic that her side will deliver impressive performances at the forthcoming CECAFA Women Challenge Cup due in Kigali from July 19 to 27.
Speaking in a news briefing held on Monday at Rwanda Football Federation (FERWAFA), Kayiranga said, “We have had time to work with our players on the physical fitness and tactical levels and they are all in good condition. They are all ready to stage a good tournament.”
He also added; “Since May when we first held our intensive set of rigorous preparations, you can see they are very ready and prepared to hit the pitch and battle for the regional crown. We are targeting the top two positions and will do the needful to achieve our ambition.”
Our performances against defending champions Tanzania in the opening game, he said, will determine our overall fate but I confident in this group of talented ladies.
According to skipper Nibagwire Gloria Sifa, “We had a disappointing tournament in 2015 and it left us with a big lesson and vital experience which we hope we will base on to make amends. I and my team mates are ready for this year’s edition and being held at home, we have not left a stone unturned in our bid to prepare very well for this tournament with an aim of staging a successful and triumphant tournament.”
Rwanda will play reigning champions Tanzania in their opening game on July 19 at 16:15 at Stade de Kigali. On the same day, Kenya will take on Uganda in an earlier game at 2pm.
Action will resume on Saturday, July 21 with Ethiopia facing Uganda while Kenya will be up against Tanzania.
Rwanda will be back to action on Monday when they host Ethiopia after an earlier match between Uganda and Tanzania.
On Wednesday, July 25, Rwanda will battle Uganda as Kenya takes on Ethiopia before the final league-format matches which will see Rwanda hosting Kenya as Ethiopia takes on Tanzania on Friday, July 27 with the overall winner being crowned.
Teams expected to give Rwanda a good run for their money includes defending champions Tanzania who are eager to defend their throne, Kenya’s Harambee Starlets, Uganda and Ethiopia respectively.
The Challenge Cup will be played in a league format to determine the eventual champion.
The third edition of the CECAFA Women Championship was supposed to be hosted in May this year, but had to be pushed to July.
The five-nation tournament will be comprised of hosts Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia.
Tanzania remain the defending champions of the event that was last held in Uganda (2016) at FUFA Technical Centre,Njeru. They beat rivals Kenya 2-1 to win the championship while Crested Cranes finished fourth with Rwanda failing to qualify from the group stage.
CECAFA Women Challenge Cup 2018
Thursday, July 19
Kenya vs Uganda (Stade de Kigali, 14h00)
Rwanda vs Tanzania (Stade de Kigali, 16:15)