Rwanda national football team have started their 2026 World Cup Qualifiers campaign on a mediocre pace as they laboured a 0-0 stalemate against Zimbabwe on Wednesday at Huye Stadium.
Both sides wasted numerous clear-cut scoring opportunities, forcing them to split the spoil and begin their quest for the 2026 World Cup berth with a point each.
Substitute Claude Niyomugabo was thought to have given Amavubi a late winner in the 89th minute when he cut inside the box and deftly teamed up with Kevin Muhire to find himself in a one-on-one position with Zimbabwe goalie Bernard Fungai. However, Niyomugabo was only able to dully miss the target.
Torsten Spittler’s team got off to a flying start, dominating The Warriors and producing some scoring chances that ultimately proved fruitless.
Lague Byiringiro cut in from the left and attempted a shot, though it was blocked and flew wide, creating the first corner kick of the contest. Shortly afterwards, Djihad Bizimana attempted a spectacular 30-yard strike, but unfortunately for him, went wide.
Zimbabwe head coach Baltemar Brito made a sudden adjustment in the 22nd minute, with Terrence Dzvukamanja coming on for Admiral Muskwe.
Dzvukamanja brought sharpness in his first minutes on the pitch as the SuperSport forward had two clear-cut chances in front of Amavubi’s goal, though he was denied by Fiacre Ntwali and Ange Mutsinzi.
Before the end of the first half, Gilbert Mugisha cut inside the box, dribbling past one defender, but his impressive efforts fell short at the hands of Fungai.
Torsten Spittler made two substitutions at halftime, with Arthur Gitego and Olivier Niyonzima replacing Lague Byiringiro and Bonheur Mugisha.
A few moments later, Zimbabwe gained the upper hand as they had plenty of possession while Torsten Spittler’s men were losing balls repeatedly. Gitego made an erroneous pass that led to the visitors netting in the 69th minute, but the goal was ruled out for offside.
The final 20 minutes were a rollercoaster for the two teams, with Nshuti squandering Hakim Sahabo’s brilliant pass in the 72nd minute before Ntwali put on a heroic save a few seconds later.
The host had an obvious opportunity to grab a late victory when two substitutes Claude Niyomugabo and Kevin Muhire combined superbly, but APR left-back failed to make every Rwandan dream a reality as he hit the ball deficiently, forcing the game to end in 0-0 tie.
Amavubi, who placed in Group C alongside Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, and Benin, face Bafana Bafana on November 21 at Huye Stadium.