Amavubi keep Stars on CHAN 2018 alert


NATIONAL football team, Taifa Stars need to be on their guard as their 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifiers opponent Rwanda have turned full focus into the game.

Antoine Hey’s side will play against Taifa Stars in the second qualification round next month. The first leg is scheduled to be played on the weekend of July 14 -16 in Dar es Salaam before the return leg in Kigali a week later.

Speaking after Amavubi’s 2-1 defeat against Central African Republic in the opening AFCON 2019 Cameroon qual ifier last Sunday in Bangui, goalkeeper, Eric ‘Bakame’ Ndayishimiye said, “It’s difficult to explain how we lost that game but we have to forget and focus on the CHAN qualifiers.”

“It was a tough game but when we got the equaliser, we thought it was a crucial away point but somehow we lost concentration which led to conceding the second goal in the dying seconds,” added the Rayon Sports shot stopper.

However, he said the defeat was now in the past and urged the team to look forward to the next games against Tanzania, which according to him will be even tougher. “So we need to prepare adequately because we need to win the two legs and advance to the next round,” he noted.

Striker Junior Gourrier gave CAR the lead two minutes after the half time break and Ernest Sugira equalised for Amavubi in the 90+2 minute but Salif Keita netted the winner just seconds from the full time whistle.

The last time both Rwanda and Tanzania met was during the 2015 CECAFA Challenge Cup held in Ethiopia and Amavubi lost 1-2 in the group stage.

The winner between Rwanda and Tanzania will take on Uganda, which is the most probable favourite to go past the winner between South Sudan and Somalia in the second round.

The second round winners will meet in the third round where only eventual winners will qualify to represent the Central and East Zone at next year’s edition, alongside hosts Kenya.

The CHAN tournament, which is reserved for players, who feature in their respective domestic leagues across Africa, will be staged from January 11 to February 2, 2018.

Rwanda made her second appearance as they hosted the 2016 edition, where they reached the quarter-finals before losing 1-2 in extra time to eventual champions, DR Congo.

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