Stars’ game with Rwanda timely preps for CHAN qualifiers - Ndayiragije

16Oct 2019
Joseph Mchekadona
The Guardian
Stars’ game with Rwanda timely preps for CHAN qualifiers - Ndayiragije

TAIFA Stars’ interim head coach, Etienne Ndayiragije, has said his squad’s international friendly match against Rwanda has helped him prepare his players well for the Friday’s Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifying game against Sudan.

Taifa Stars

Taifa Stars will play Sudan at El Merriekh Omdurman Stadium in Khartoum in the second leg of the second round of the qualifiers for the tournament, which has been designed for players plying their trade in domestic leagues.

Taifa Stars and Rwanda, nicknamed Amavubi, settled for a 0-0 draw in the international friendly game, which took place in Kigali on Monday.

The coach issued the comments after the goalless draw with Rwanda at Kigali Stadium.

He said he used the match to try different formations, new tactics and give time to new players in his squad.

He said he is optimistic that his side will do well away to Sudan.

“It was a good game and I’m impressed with the way my players played, yes we did not score any goal but I’m happy with the way we played, as you saw in the game I gave playing opportunities to many newcomers,” he said.

During the match, monitored on a local Television station, hosts Amavubi started brightly, controlling possession for much of the first half but Taifa Stars keeper Metacha Mnata was always available to keep the hosts at bay.

In the second half, coach Ndayiragije made some substitutions which saw Stars look organized as they were playing with a purpose but they still failed to find the opponents’ back of the net.

Taifa Stars lost 1-0 to Sudan in the first leg of the CHAN qualifiers, which took place in Dar es Salaam.

The Friday match is a must win for Stars as the aggregate winners of the tie will secure their spot in the 2020 CHAN finals which will be held in Cameroon.

The senior national team need nothing but a win to guarantee their second appearance in CHAN finals.

Coach Ndayiragije is reported to have said Tanzania can beat Sudan at the latter’s backyard, the same way the former did to Kenya in the first round the competition’s qualifiers month ago.

The Burundian tactician said he has watched the videos of his side’s first leg clash with Sudan and he has improved on the mistakes his team committed during the first leg at the National Stadium.

He said Taifa Stars still stand a chance of making it to the finals despite losing the first leg at home.

“If we lost at home, then we can turn the tables and beat Sudan away, the same way we did against Kenya in the first round,” he said.

The coach said he has told his players not to be the first to concede as the situation will give them a tough time.

“All we need to do is not concede first. If we do, then our chances will be slim. But we have a good squad and we will see what kind of results we can get away,” he said.