Rwanda eye Cameroon scalp, Mozambique favour in Afcon bid

football29 March 2021 14:17| © Backpage TXT
article image
Thierry Manzi © Backpage Pix

Rwanda will take aim at Cameroon at Japoma Stadium in Douala on Tuesday in what is a must-win 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier for the visitors in their bid to reach next year's showpiece.

Kick-off is at 9pm CAT (SA, GMT+2).

Amavubi go into the match in third place in Group F, two points behind Cape Verde who are away to Mozambique at the same time.

All three nations still harbour hopes of punching their Afcon ticket, but Rwanda need to win in Douala and hope for a favour from the Mambas if they are to advance at the Blue Sharks' expense.

Cape Verde are in pole position to qualify alongside Cameroon, who are guaranteed a place at next year's finals by virtue of being hosts, and the island country will do so with victory in Maputo.

But Mozambique themselves still have a slim chance of qualifying if they win and Rwanda lose in Douala. It all makes for a rather exciting night of football.

Cameroon will be eager to bounce back from a 3-1 loss suffered at the hands of Cape Verde in Praia last week.

The Indomitable Lions are without several key players due to Covid-19 restrictions, including Fulham midfielder André-Frank Zambo Anguissa, while Bayern Munich forward Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting failed to honour his call-up due to a reported administrative blunder.

Furthermore, head coach Toni Conceiçao is without Ajax Amsterdam shot-stopper Andre Onana following his 12-month suspension from the sport for a doping violation, but despite all of this, Cameroon will still be expected to win on home soil.

Rwanda themselves are set to be without a few key personnel with Thierry Manzi (suspension), Yves Kimenyi, Emery Bayisenge (both injured), Kevin Muhire and Abdul Rwatubyaye to miss the match, but goalkeeper Olivier Kwizera will be available for selection once again.

The East African country beat Mozambique 1-0 in Kigali last week to ignite their Afcon hopes, but head coach Vincent Mashami knows his team still have a mountain to climb and has implored his troops to focus on themselves amid an intriguing final round of qualifiers.

“I am happy with our performance [against Mozambique]," said Mashami. "The players showed discipline and confidence on the ball, we deserved the three points.

“We don’t have time to relax or celebrate. We are facing Cameroon next, so we need to get back to business and prepare as best as possible. We will go into the game with one thing on mind – to win.”

He added: "We are preparing for this match as for a final. We are not looking at another match, only ours counts. If we want to advance, first of all we have to win. "

A solitary strike from Moumi Ngamaleu led Cameroon to a 1-0 win over Rwanda in the reverse fixture hosted in Kigali in November 2019.

The top two nations in each group advance to the 24-team finals hosted in Cameroon next year.