Rwanda head coach Stephen Constantine has summoned a 25-man provincial U-23 national team ahead of a friendly against Tanzania on January 22 in Mwanza. They commence training three days earlier.
This encounter was earlier scheduled for Tanzania’s Independence Day on December 9 but Rwanda requested for postponement due to players’ unavailability as most were preparing to compete in the Ombudsman Cup from December 6-7.
In an earlier interview with supersport.com, Constantine said, “This is an opportunity for us to field the U-23 side that will play the Olympic qualifiers in March. Tanzania has a good side and they will provide a test for us and we are looking forward to that.”
Constantine has included Amavubi captain Haruna Niyonzima, who plies his trade for Young Africans in Tanzania.
He is joined by Ismael Nshutiyamagara (APR), Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza (APR), Ernest Sugira (AS Kigali) and Jean Claude Zagabe (Mukura) as the overage players.
Niyonzima’s last national team engagement was the 4-3 win over Congo Brazzaville in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier before Rwanda were disqualified for fielding a dual identity player Dady Birori alias Tady Etekiama Agiti.
According to the rules of the competition, each team is allowed three overage players and the veterans’ inclusion is expected to boost the team’s performance.
Rwanda will face Somalia in the first round of qualification and victory will secure a face off against Uganda and the winner of that tie will then take on Egypt.
The winner will qualify for the CAF U-23 Championship scheduled for September 4-19 in the Democratic Republic of Congo with the top three making the mark for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Brazil.
In November, Rwanda held Morocco to a goalless draw in Marrakesh in an international friendly before the game against the Burundi U-23 ended in a goalless draw.
Goalkeepers: Marcel Nzarora (Police), Olivier Kwizera (APR) and Steven Ntalibi (Police). Defenders: Soter Kayumba (AS Kigali), Ismail Nshutiyamagara (APR), Emery Bayisenge (APR), Michel Rusheshangoga (APR), Fitina Ombelenga (SC Kiyovu), Janvier Mutijima (AS Kigali) and Eric Rutanga (APR).
Midfielders: Haruna Niyonzima (Yanga), Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza (APR), Rachid Kalisa (Police), Justin Mico (AS Kigali), Savio Nshuti Dominique (Isonga), Patrick Sibomana (APR), Jean Claude Zagabe (Mukura), Kevin Muhire (Isonga), Andrew Buteera (APR) and Emmanuel Sebanani (Police).
Forwards: Ernest Sugira (AS Kigali), Danny Usengimana (Isonga), Bertrand Iradukunda (APR), Innocent Ndizeye (Amagaju) and Issa Bigirimana (APR). Siurce supersport.com