Home Sports Rwanda National Team Falls to Benin But Maintains Top Spot In World Cup Qualifiers

Rwanda National Team Falls to Benin But Maintains Top Spot In World Cup Qualifiers

by Annet Mugabo
12:53 pm

The Rwanda national team lost to Benin 1-0 in the third match day of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers, held at the Stade Félix Houphouët Boigny in Côte d’Ivoire on Thursday, June 6, 2024.

Both countries played this match at a neutral venue because Benin does not have an approved stadium. Ntwari Fiacre started again in goal, with Omborenga Fitina, Imanishimwe Emmanuel, Manzi Thierry, and Mutsinzi Ange in defense.

The midfield comprised Rubanguka Steve, Bizimana Djihad, Rafael York, and Hakim Sahabo, while Mugisha Gilbert and Nshuti Innocent played as forwards. Benin began the match strongly, consistently attacking and demonstrating superior strength over Rwanda, leading to Dodo Dokou scoring the opening goal from a corner in the 36th minute.

Four minutes before the end of the first half, Benin nearly scored a second goal after a poor clearance by Ntwari Fiacre, which was intercepted by Dodo. Fortunately, Mutsinzi Ange cleared the ball with a header, sending it out for a corner.

The first 45 minutes ended with Rwanda failing to register a single shot on target. Efforts from Imanishimwe Emmanuel and Omborenga Fitina were not capitalized on by their teammates, and Bizimana Djihad’s shot went over the bar.

Before the second half started, coach Frank Spittler Torsten made two substitutions for Rwanda, bringing in Muhire Kevin and Samuel Gueulette for Hakim Sahabo and Rafael York.

Significant chances in the last 45 minutes included Junior Olaïtan’s shot hitting the post and a missed header by Manzi Thierry in the 74th minute.

 Additional substitutions for Rwanda included Rubanguka Steve being replaced by Mugisha Bonheur in the 67th minute, Mugisha Gilbert by Jojea Kwizera in the 72nd minute, and Gitego Arthur replacing Nshuti Innocent in the 85th minute. Rwanda pressed in the final minutes but failed to create any substantial threats to the goal, being effectively contained by Benin’s solid defense. Despite the loss, Rwanda continued to lead Group C with four points, tied with Benin.

South Africa is third with three points, ahead of Nigeria, Lesotho, and Zimbabwe, each with two points. On Friday, Nigeria will host South Africa, while Zimbabwe will play Lesotho.

This was Rwanda’s first defeat and the first goal conceded since Frank Spittler took over as coach in November 2023. The Rwanda national team is set to head to Durban, South Africa, where they will face Lesotho in the fourth match day on June 11, 2024.

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