Rwanda lose Senegal friendly, big vital lessons ahead of Mozambique
Rwandaâ€™s senior football team lost 0-2 to Senegal in a Fifa international friendly match played on Saturday at Amahoro Stadium.
The game was part of Amavubiâ€™s preparations ahead of the 2017 Africa Nationsâ€™ Cup qualifier against Mozambique which will be played on June 4 in Kigali.
The Amavubi conceded the first goal in the 13th minute courtesy of Diouf Mame Biramâ€™s goal before Sankhare Younnouse doubled the lead in the 30th minute.
The hosts battled harder to get a goal but could convert their chances through Ernest Sugira and Jacques Tuyisenge.
In the second half, Amavubi head coach Johnathan McKinstry made six chances, introducing Dany Usengimana for Ernest Sugira, Patrick Sibomana was replaced by Dominique Savio Nshuti, Michel Rusheshangonga for Fitina Omborenga, Niyonzima Ally for Yannick Mukunzi,Haruna Niyonzima for Jacques Tuyisenge and Manzi Thierry for Rwatubyaye Abdul.
The Amavubi improved their performances in the second half but failed to find the net.
Speaking to KT Sports, McKinstry said that the friendly tie was a very worthwhile in terms of their preparations for Mozambique next week, whilst also allowing him to rotate his squad to ensure players who had a heavy league programme recently were not overworked.
â€œThe first 30 minutes were like a tornado, such was our opponents speed and movement. This was at premier league level, and our players, used to competing in the slower leagues here in east Africa took some time to get to grips with the tempo of the game,â€
â€œBy the time we did, Senegal had taken two of their chances,â€
â€œHaving said that, we performed much better in the second half. Both in terms of trying to get beyond the Senegal defence, as well as the pressure we applied on them when they had the ball,â€
â€œThese are qualities we will need to display against Mozambique who are also a quick and incisive ‘pass and move’ team, albeit not at the same level as Senegal,â€ he said.
â€œMake no doubt about it – Senegal are one of the top teams in Africa, and our players will have learnt a lot from today’s game, both in terms of their own personal game play, as well the importance of truly working together during difficult passages of play,â€
â€œThere were also good performances from a number of individuals, with Ally Niyonzima looking confident and assured on his debut. Not an easy thing to do when the player opposite you had a market value in excess of $30,000,000,â€
â€œSo whilst we are all somewhat disappointed by the final score line, we know that today was a very useful part of our training plan, as we move towards the 4th June, and or encounter with Mozambique,â€ he further added.
Rwanda stunned Mozambique in the opening Afcon 2017 qualifier last June in Maputo to record their first away win in four years but lost 1-0 to Afcon 2015 finalists Ghana in September.
A shock 1-0 loss to Mauritius in Belle Vue in March threatened Rwandaâ€™s chances of qualification but a superb comeback three days saw the Amavubi register their biggest win in Afcon qualification, a remarkable and memorable 5-0 victory in front of a fully packed Amahoro Stadium.
Next week, Amavubi will be keen on registering maximum points to edge closer to Rwandaâ€™s second participation at the continental tournament that attracts the crÃ¨me de la crÃ¨me in Africa.
Rwandaâ€™s last appearance at Afcon was back in 2004 at the expense of bitter rivals and neighbours Uganda as well as Ghana.