Rwanda’s men’s senior team, Amavubi begun preparations on Thursday ahead of the upcoming 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Cote d’Ivoire scheduled to be played on Saturday, March 23 at Stade Bouaké in Abidjan.
Head coach Mashami Vincent held the initial training session on Thursday at Amahoro Stadium. Two sessions in the morning and afternoon are planned for Friday at Amahoro Stadium.
Only local players featuring in the Azam Rwanda Premier League are taking part in the preparations. They will be joined by foreign-based players starting on Sunday with Egyptian based Muhire Kevin (El Dakhleya Sporting Club), while striker Jacques Tuyisenge (Gor Mahia), goalie Mvuyekure Emery (Tusker FC), Djihad Bizimana (Waasland Beveren) and Nirisarike Salomon (FC Tubize), all arriving on March 18.
The list summoned by head coach Kamara includes in-form Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha who missed the first leg against Rwanda in September last year due to an injury.
However, the majority of the players who helped the Elephants defeat Rwanda 2-1 have maintained their places in the team as the Elephants hope to claim full spoils in Abidjan.
In the first leg played in Kigali, Aston Villa forward Jonathan Adjo Kodjia scored the opener after being gifted with a free ball from Olivier Kwizera’s poor goalkeeping tactics.
After recess, Ivory Coast continued their dominance and managed to double their lead through Max Gradel. The Toulouse attacking midfielder beat right back Fitina Ombolenga to strike past goalie Kwizera with a good finish, making it 2-0 in the 48th minute.
Despite being out of contention for a place in the Africa’s final tournament which will be held in Egypt, Amavubi will be aiming for a victory over the Elephants.
But their quest will be with tough challenge following the squad summoned by Kamara who also wants to register a win over Amavubi to see if he can grab the top spot of Group H, hoping that Guinea loses away to Central African Republic in Bangui.
Ahead of their final group match, Rwanda is placed bottom of Group H with only two points from five games, three adrift of third-placed CAR. Guinea top the group with 11 points, followed by former African champions Ivory Coast with 8 points.
Amavubi Provisional Squad for residential camp:
Goalkeepers: Rwabugiri Omar (Mukura VS&L), Kimenyi Yves (APR FC) and Mvuyekure Emery (Tusker FC, Kenya).
Defenders: Rwatubyaye Abdoul (Sporting KC, USA), Nirisarike Salomon (FC Tubize, Belgium), Manzi Thierry (Rayon Sports FC), Buregeya Prince (APR FC), Fitina Ombolenga (APR FC), Imanishimwe Emmanuel (APR FC), Habimana Hussein (Rayons Sports FC),Iragire Saidi (Mukura VS&L), Rutanga Eric (Rayon Sports FC) and Iradukunda Eric (Rayon sports FC).
Midfielders: Butera Andrew (APR FC), Niyonzima Ally (APR FC), Muhire Kevin (El Dakhleya Sporting Club, Egypt), Niyonzima Olivier (Rayon Sports FC), Nsabimana Eric (AS Kigali), Bizimana Djihad (Waasland Beveren, Belgium) and Nshimiyimana Imran (APR FC)
Forwards: Kagere Meddie (SC Simba, Tanzania), Tuyisenge Jacques (Gor Mahia, Kenya), Hakizimana Muhadjiri (APR FC), Nshuti Dominique Savio (APR FC), Nizeyimana Juma (Kiyovu Sports), Byiringiro Lague (APR FC) and Iradukunda Bertrand (Mukura VS&L)
March 15, 2019 : Amahoro Stadium (9h30 & 15h30)
March 16, 2019 : Amahoro Stadium (9h30 & 15h30)
March 17, 2019 : Amahoro Stadium (16h00)
March 18, 2019 : Amahoro Stadium (16h00)
March 19, 2019 : Amahoro Stadium (16h00)
March 20, 2019 : Amahoro Stadium (16h00)
March 21, 2019 : Amavubi squad flies to Abidjan
March 22, 2019 : Stade Bouaké (16h00)
March 23, 2019: Cote d’Ivoire vs Rwanda (AFCON Qualifier in Abidjan)