Rwanda’s National Football Team Amavubi’s head coach Vincent Mashami is confident his players will defeat Ivory Coast.
He assured Rwandans a ticket in the finals of CAF African Cup of Nations (AFCON 2019).
Rwanda’s Amavubi (Wasps) will host Les Elephants of Ivory Coast at Stade de Kigali, Nyamirambo in their first leg game of Group H in the 2019 AFCON qualifiers on Sunday, September 9, 2018.
Both Rwanda and Ivory Coast lost their first group H matches in which Rwanda were beaten 1-2 by Central African Republic while Ivory Coast started their AFCON 2019 qualifiers campaign with a 2-3 loss to Guinea.
Addressing the media ahead of the tie, at the Rwandan Football Federation (FERWAFA) headquarters, Amavubi’s coach, Vincent Mashami said they want to win all home games including Ivory Coast’s, secure at least a draw result in their away games and hence be able to qualify for AFCON games in 2019.
Mashami said his men are not afraid of Ivory Coast players most of whom play in big and renowned European football leagues, including Manchester United’s centre back Eric Bertrand Bailly, Tottenham Hotspurs’ right back Serge Aurier among others.
He said, “We are well prepared for the game on Sunday. All the players we summoned are present and fully fit except Jacques Tuyisenge whom we didn’t want to join others while he is still injured though the team highly needed him. Our players are doing trainings very well. We will give whatever is required in the playground.”
“Ivory Coast has got renowned players who feature in European big leagues. We are aware of that but we know it is not AC Milan or Tottenham whom we will face. We will face Ivory Coast. They are a team we owe respect but we won’t respect them on the pitch,” added Mashami.
For Mashami, the win against Ivory Coast will be the start for the journey to 2018 AFCON games.
“Our only goal is no other than securing a qualification in the AFCON games. To achieve that, we want to win all the three games that will be played in Kigali starting by this against Ivory Coast. We want to get at least a draw in each of the other two games to be played away. Hence, we will have 11 points [in the total six games] and then obtain a qualification,” he explained.
Rwanda’s Amavubi clash against Ivory Coast’s Elephants reminds Rwandan football fans of the other historical game in which Ivory Coast thumped Rwanda 5-0.
This was back in 2011 when Rwanda was coached by Ghanaian Selas Tetteh. The CAF AFCON 2012 qualifier game was staged at Amahoro National Stadium on Saturday, September 3, 2011.
Haruna Niyonzima, Amavubi’s skipper, one of the most experienced in the current squad, featured in that tie. He says the heavy loss is now a forgotten story and has nothing to do with the game on Sunday which they have turned all focus on and look up to as a must win match.
“My teammates are used to asking me how we lost 0-5 to Ivory Coast. We have forgotten that loss though we have to think about a little bit. As a player with experience. I hope it won’t repeat itself. We have to win this game,” said Niyonzima, the Tanzania’s Simba Sporty Club playmaker who is on record to be the most ever capped Amavubi player.