Rwanda fire blanks against Gabon
Rwanda 0-0 Gabon
Mozambique 0-2 Zambia
Malawi 1-1 DR Congo
Sierra Leone 0-2 Ghana
Burkina Faso 0-3 Mali
THE RWANDA Under-20 national team, Junior Wasps, was held to a goalless draw by Gabon in the 2015 African Youth Championship final qualifying round, first leg played at the Kigali Regional Stadium on Sunday.
The second leg will be played in Gabon on the weekend of May 24 with the overall winner qualifying for the third and final round.
The Junior Wasps failed to utilize a chance to snatch a win following their blunt striking force. They had the upper hand in the game but their blunt striking force could not the net, with Betrand Iradukunda, Yannick Mukunzi and Maxime Sekamana being the main culprits.
Jean Paul Niyonzima had two best attempts on target in the first half but were all kept off bay experienced Fc Mounana goalkeeper Patrick Menene Mekosso .
Goal keeper Olivier Kwizera was also forced to make an early save from Ricky Ango Ndoutoume after he eliminated defenders Latif Bishira and Andreson Neza to only get the ball cleared by the APR custodian.
Gabon had another clear chance to find the net when substitute Ibrahim Mba eliminated Bishira to connect a stretched set piece past Edmond Lessa as the visitors pressed the Junior Wasps with ten minutes to the end of the first half.
After the interval, both sides continued with their both defending and attacking flair but neither could find each other’s net for a winner.
Neza made a swift save blocking two sharp shots from Ndoutoume as well as skipper Muller Kambambela.
Coach Richard Tardy made one substitution, introducing Patrick Sibomana for Niyonzima. The APR midfielder added spirit in the team which then opted to go offensive as Neza and Bishira held the defense intact.
Yannick Mukunzi unleashed a low shot deep inside the box but the ball was calmly saved by Menene on 60th minute following an effort from Sibomana.
APR defender Eric Rutanga wasted three free kicks which if well converted would have changed the score line.
Five minutes to the end of the game, Mukunzi wasted another clear chance to find the net as he headed off target Kwizera’s free kick following poor miscommunication from striker Iradukunda.
Gabon’s plan of securing a clean sheet away worked as the Junior Wasps squandered a few of the chances created by their midfield.
The return leg seems a mountain to climb for Tardy’s outfit but if Gabon plays an open game, then Rwanda will have a chance to find the net should they improve on their striking unit and maintain their offensive game approach.
Elsewhere, Ghana, Mali and Zambia put their noses in front with victories away from home during the second round first leg matches played on Saturday.
The trio thus stands in a good stead to reach the final round ahead of the second leg in a fortnight.
Ghana’s Black Satellites humbled the Shooting Stars of Sierra Leone 2-0 in Freetown to remain on course for a fourth successive appearance at the biennial championship since 2009. Dennis Tetteh and Prosper Kassim scored in each half to secure victory.
In Ouagadougou, a Saliou Guindo hat-trick silenced and killed off the hopes of the Les Etalons Juniors of Burkina Faso. Guindo, who stars for Malian second-tier side, Jeanne d’Arc de Bamako broke the deadlock on 16 minutes. The midfielder doubled the lead on 72 minutes before sealing his third eight minutes from time.
Elsewhere in Maputo, the Young Chipolopolo of Zambia proved too strong for their Mozambican hosts. Patrick Ngoma and Captain Lubambo Musonda were on target in each half to ensure victory.
At the Kamuzui Banda Stadium in Blantyre, the Malawian Junior Flames failed to shine at home, settling for a 1-1 draw with DR Congo. The visitors went up on 69 minutes through Christy Manzinga before Suweidi Limbani grabbed a face-saving equalizer on 77 minutes.
The second leg will take place on the weekend of 23-25 May 2014 with the winners advancing to the ultimate round of the qualifying series.
The final tournament 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.