Rwanda’s Afcon campaign start with a draw over

Amavubi.

2015 Afcon Qualifiers

First Round, Sunday

Libya             0-0       Rwanda

CAR               0-0       Guinea-Bissau

Madagascar   2-1       Uganda

Kenya             1-0       Comoros

Mozambique 5-0      South Sudan

Swaziland      1-1       Sierra Leone

Tanzania        1-0       Zimbabwe

Namibia         1-0       Congo Brazzaville

Mauritania    1-0       Equatorial Guinea

Benin              2-0       Sao Tome Principe

Malawi           2-0       Chad

RWANDA’S AMAVUBI team registered a barren draw against reigning CHAN kings, Libya in the first round of the 2015 Africa Nations Cup qualifier held on Sunday at Stade Olympique de Rades in Tunis.

With the set to be unveiled English coach Stephen Constantine sitting in the stands, Amavubi squandered three goal scoring opportunities after mounting a defensive game, stopping the lethal Libyan attack from ensuring a bright start on home ground.

The game was managed by interim head coach Andre Cass Mbungo who gave Rayon Sports midfielder Leon Uwambazimana his maiden international Amavubi cap.

Libya began the match the stronger side with Rwanda taking time to settle and read their opponents. In the 20th minute, a dangerous pass by Ahmed Al Alwani almost cost Rwanda but an advancing keeper Jean Claude Ndoli managed to neutralize the threat.

 Strikers Elias Uzamukunda and Dady Birori almost broke the deadlock on 30th and 40th minutes but were ruled off side as Libya led proceedings. The first half ended in a goalless draw for both sides.

Rwanda would have found the goal but poor finishing from Meddie Kagere and Dayd Birori cost Amavubi. Amavubi who relied on counterattacks had Uzamukunda’s effort from the edge of the box going straight inches away from the goal post.

Libya could have benefitted from Leon Uwambazimana blunder inside the goal but Ndoli came rushing to block Mansur Elhadi, keeping his stands safer.

Defender Abouba Sibomana had his free kick at the edge of the box headed away into the corner end before Coach Cassa reinforced his side introducing Haruna Niyonzima for Jimmy Mbaraga and Rodrique Murengezi for Uwambazimana.

All in all, it was a physical and tactical game for both sides but an advantage for Rwanda who avoided conceding a goal away.

Coach Cassa said, “This is a good result registered away from home. I took my time to study Libya and good enough, players were able to listen to my instructions, and thus the good result,”

“We missed three clear cut chances which would have put us in a much better position but nevertheless, I have optimism, we will win the return leg to qualify,” added the AS Kigali tactician.

Amavubi returns back on Monday before heading straight in residential camp in Northern Province town of Musanze.

The return leg will be played on May 31 with the winner from the two-legged match meeting either Namibia or Congo Brazzaville.

Namibia edged closer to the next round after beating Congo Brazzaville 1-0 in Windhoek.

Elsewhere, Madagascar caused a surprise on Sunday with a 2-1 win over visitors Uganda in their first round first leg tie.

The hosts took the lead from Fabrice Angio and Njiva Rakotoharimalala in the first half. They wasted another chance to extend their advantage but Angio failed to score from the penalty spot in the second-half.

Hamis Kiiza then scored what could prove to be a vital away goal with a spot-kick in the very last moments of the match.

Uganda is traditionally strong at home and will believe they can overturn the deficit in the second leg in Kampala in two weeks time.

The Cranes are ranked more than 100 places above Madagascar on the Fifa rankings.

Amavubi XI: Jean Claude Ndoli, Michel Rusheshangoga, Ismail Nshutinamaga, Emery Bayisenge, Abouba Sibomana, Leon Uwambazimana (Rodrigue Murengenzi), Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza, Jimmy Mbaraga (Haruna Niyonzima), Elias Uzamukunda (Djamal Mwiseneza), Daddy Birori and Meddie Kagere.