KAMPALA- They might be 3-0 down but the Rwandans are not down on hope.
And they will need lots of it when they welcome Uganda this Saturday in one final, rather desperate attempt to squeeze through to Kenya for the 2018 Africa Nations Championship (Chan) finals.
“We are preparing the best way we possibly can for the second leg,” Rwanda coach Antoine Hey said from the Amavubi camp this week.
“It’s not over yet, anything can happen.”
Yet, for someone who has not tasted victory in four competitive matches as Amavubi coach; it is quite unlikely Hey’s men will score at least three unanswered goals against Uganda – the best side from the Central East zone for the last seven or so years.
But if a little bit of encouragement should come the German’s way from the Ugandan camp, defender and captain Bernard Muwanga offered some.
“It is good we won the first battle but that doesn’t guarantee our (overall) victory,” said Muwanga ahead of the return leg, “We still need to win the return battle to accomplish the war as victors.”
Cranes coach Moses Basena’s troops played themselves into such a privileged position that they can even afford to lose and still progress to the Chan finals.
Elsewhere, defender Timothy Awany, who missed the first round while away on trials Ajax Cape Town, is back and is relishing the prospect of being part of the team that ensures qualification to the home-based players’ tournament finals due early next year in Kenya.
“I only need to work hard so that the coach considers me in the final squad,” he said.
Rwanda captain and first choice goalkeeper Eric ‘Bakame’ Ndayishimiye also returns after missing the first leg against Uganda through suspension.
The Chan finals will be staged from January 11 to February 2 in Kenya. Should Uganda qualify, they will have made it to the competition for the fourth straight time.
AFRICA NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIPS
QUALIFIERS - RETURN LEG
Amavubi vs Cranes
Saturday, August 19