Following their 1-0 loss to Mauritius on Saturday, Rwanda will be looking to turn around their fortunes when they host Le Dodos in the Afcon 2017 qualifier return leg fixture on Tuesday at Amahoro Stadium in Kigali.
Both sides are contesting for second place in Group H that is topped by Ghana who have a 100 per cent record and have amassed nine points from three games scoring 11 goals and conceded only twice.
With Saturday’s win courtesy of a header from defender Francis Rasolofonirina who scored off a corner kick, Mauritius occupy second position with six points ahead of Rwanda who have three points.
Rwanda head coach, Johnny McKinstry, said: “We need to go out and play with a lot of intensity. Let us be realistic. We had some chances on Saturday but we need to raise it up a little. Everyone had a six out of 10 and that is not good enough.”
“We have made it harder for ourselves. We said at the beginning of qualifying that 12 points would definitely take us there. Even at the beginning, 11 points, 10 or nine might have been enough.
“Twelve points was what would have made a certainty but now we have been given a second chance because the weekend results across Africa in that race for best second place finish pretty much all the results went into our favour so we have been given a second chance and the players have been informed but we won’t be given a third chance” Naijabet.com.
McKinstry will be welcoming back central defender Emery Bayisenge who was suspended for Saturday’s game after amassing two yellow cards in the first two qualifying fixtures against Mozambique and Ghana.
He said: “He comes in and we know what he brings, he is an athletic boy, his passing is very good, his set-pieces are obviously very good but it is not about one player. Really if we have one player playing well and 10 players playing average then we will not get what we need. We need every single player on the team to go out and put in a performance.”
Meanwhile, Mauritius will be looking to complete a double on Rwanda but assistant coach, Jean Michael Mootoosamy, revealed that they would welcome a point from this game.
“To be honest, Rwanda is a good side but we are here to win because we want to finish second in this group but a draw is not a bad result,” explained the optimistic Mootoosamy.
Rwanda will face Mozambique in June before travelling to Ghana in September for the return leg fixture in search of 12 points that should see them qualify for Afcon for the first time since 2004.
The table leaders in all the 13 groups will qualify automatically for Africa’s biggest football tournament while Group I that has hosts Gabon will not be considered for second place. Two of the second best sides will complete the 16-team list for Africa’s biggest football showpiece.