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Kayiranga optimistic about Rwanda’s chances

Despite a 1-0 defeat to Egypt in the under-20 Afcon qualifier on Sunday, Rwanda coach Jean Baptiste Kayiranga believes his side can overturn the result in Cairo.

The Junior Wasps conceded in the 50th minute when Taher Mohammed Ahmed caught the defense napping on a counterattack to score an important away goal that could prove detrimental in the long run.

We created several chances in front of goal and were unlucky to have hit the crossbar twice and then a lapse of concentration saw us concede on a counterattack but overall we played well and can do better away from home. It will not be easy but we can do it,” said the positive Kayiranga.

Rwanda were without striker Blaise Itangishaka who is nursing a right arm injury as well as left back Aman Niyonkuru who was suspended with two yellow cards from the two-legged encounter against Uganda in the first round.

Kayiranga said, “We really missed Blaise and we did not want to risk because if he fell on his hand then the injury would worsen but he will be ready in two week’s time. Aman too will be back for the return leg.”

Kayiranga also blamed the loss on the uptight Rwanda Premier League schedule with teams playing thrice in a week causing fatigue for his dependable players like captain Dominique Savio Nshuti and Djabel Manishimwe of Rayon Sports.

The duo played a league game on Wednesday and only joined residential camp on Thursday so trained for just three days with the rest of the squad.

However, he believes he will have enough time to prepare for the return leg set for the weekend of June 10-12 even though Nshuti will still have to feature for the senior national side Amavubi as well as his club in league ties.

Rwanda only got to know they would face Egypt 10 days before the match after Caf disqualified Uganda for fielding a player, James Aheebwa whose club license did not correspond with his passport.

Uganda had earlier edged Rwanda 3-2 on aggregate following a 1-1 draw in Kigali and 2-1 win in Kampala.

The winner between Rwanda and Egypt will face the winner between Angola and Gabon in the third and final round of qualification that will see the seven winners join hosts Zambia for the tournament set for February 26 to March 12.


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