Junior Wasps eye win in Gabon
AYC Weekend results
Rwanda 0-0 Gabon
Sudan 0-3 Egypt
Burundi 0-1 Cameroon
Ethiopia 0-2 South Africa
Tanzania 0-2 Nigeria
Mozambique 0-2 Zambia
Malawi 1-1 DR Congo
Sierra Leone 0-2 Ghana
Burkina Faso 0-3 Mali
Libya 1-1 Tunisia
Congo 2-1 Benin
Togo 0-2 Morocco
Liberia 1-0 Côte d’Ivoire
Lesotho 3-1 Angola
RWANDA national under-20 head coach Richard Tardy believes his charges have the advantage of qualifying to the next round following a goalless draw at home against Gabon in a 2015 African Youth Championships qualifier.
Rwanda failed to find the net in the first leg of the second, to complicate their chances of proceeding to the third and final round of qualification to Senegal finals due next year.
Despite playing a goalless draw, Tardy who guided Rwanda U-17 to the 2011 Fifa World Cup finals believes the job is not done yet.
The first leg was played in Kigali on Sunday at Kigali Regional stadium while the second leg is expected on May 24 in Libreville.
The match started at a fairly quick pace with both sides trying to snatch an early lead but neither could find the back of the net.
Junior Wasps’s key player and goalkeeper Olivier Kwizera needed treatment in the 30th minute after he collided with the Gabon striker Ibrahim Mba, who was trying to beat the Rwandan custodian to the ball. It was a great save by the APR goalkeeper.
Tardy’s outfit displayed a composed football and missed three great chances in the second half following good exchange through Yannick Mukunzi, who was however denied by excellent saves from custodian Patrick Menene.
Gabon mounted the pressure in the dying minutes of the first half. A free kick from skipper Muller Dinda went just wide of the far post and forced a corner kick in the 80th minute but Rwanda defense stood tall and cleared the danger courtesy of Anderson Neza.
The two teams settled for goalless draw at the final whistle, but it was Rwanda who had seen most of the ball and created more chances during the entire game.
Tardy said, “I am not satisfied with the result but I believe we could have done better to win the game. We missed some of the good chances to score and this is the most important issue we need to work on and improve before going into the second leg,”
“There is a lot of work ahead of us and I believe we have a chance to progress in the second leg. If we score a goal, they (Gabon) will need two, so an away goal will be our main mission and I think it’s possible,”
Skipper Anderson Neza is also optimistic on Rwanda reaching the next round. “We played a good game and I believe we will win the return leg though we will be playing away,”
“It’s still possible despite a goalless draw at home. Just like Gabon, we equally have a chance to win and realize our dream of getting into the African Youth Championship. We have to remain focused and ensure that we prepare well for the second leg,” added the Valencia-based academy defender.
Gabon U20 coach Rigobert Nzamba, “The result is good for us. I have no doubt; we are winning the return leg at home. Rwanda showed they are a very good side, but they will have to work on their finishing.”
“I am satisfied with the result and we are confident of progressing going into the second leg,” added Nzamba.
Tardy will be boosted by the Arsenal academy Martin Alfred Mugabo and Yves Rwigema (Valencia academy) who all missed the first leg with knee injury and malaria bout.
Mukura striker Hussein Cyiza Mugabo has been eliminated from the squad due to age limitations. The player who was initially reported to be under-20 was discovered to have been cheating on his age when he celebrated his 24th birthday on Sunday, a few hours before the Gabon game.
He is also reported to have featured for Burundi U20 team in the 2009 Africa Youth Championship qualifiers when they lost to Sudan in the first round.
Rwanda will need an answered goal in the second leg which will be played in Gabon on the weekend of May 24 to be assured of sailing through to the final qualifying round of the 2015 AYC finals in Senegal.
The finals will take place from 8-22 March 2015 in Senegal with the semi-finalists qualifying to represent Africa at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.