FEVER is gripping up fans ahead of the 2018 CHAN qualifiers match between Taifa Stars and Rwanda, with both sides targeting to kick off their campaign positively.
The first leg match is slated for next weekend at the CCM Kirumba Stadium in Mwanza and the return leg encounter will be staged a week later in Kigali. Ahead of the clash, Rwanda’s Amavubi Head Coach, Antoine Hey has said he is not bothered with Taifa Stars’ performance in the ongoing COSAFA Cup in South Africa, because he knows the quality and weaknesses of the team.
“We followed the Tanzanian match with Lesotho in their AFCON qualifier which ended 1-1. We have seen the quality and weaknesses that Tanzania has and what they are doing now in South Africa is not bothering a lot,” he further noted.
The German tactician has summoned players that he feels have something that is needed to get the result on the international level.
He as well will be seeking to improve Rwanda’s world ranking position as in the recent released rankings, the Rwandese are placed in the 127 position with only one position up, whereas Tanzania are place 114 with 25 place up.
Tanzania improvement is acknowledged due to its performance in the COSAFA Cup, which saw Taifa Stars defeating Malawi and South Africa who are ranked 111 and 64 respectively.
Tanzania is participating in the tournament organised by the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) as a guest nation utilise the event as part of its preparations for the CHAN qualifiers especially their opening game against Rwanda as well as AFCON qualifiers.
On his side, Stars Coach Salum Mayanga is positive that his squad which has displayed a convincing performance in South Africa are ready to take on Rwanda. “COSAFA Cup has put my players in good shape for the clash against Rwanda ... and our target is to keep improving and excel in the AFCON qualifiers as well,” he said.
Stars were scheduled to battle for COSAFA Cup third place play off against Lesotho late yesterday and victory would certainly charge up players ahead of Rwanda clash. The last time the two sides met was during the 2015 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup held in Ethiopia, whereby Tanzania emerged with a 2-1 victory over Rwanda in the group stage.
The winners between Rwanda and Tanzania will take on Uganda, who are the favourites to go past the winner between South Sudan and Somalia in the second round.
The second-round winners will meet in the third round where only eventual winners will qualify to represent the Central and East Zone at next year’s edition, alongside hosts Kenya.
The continental tournament, which is reserved for players, who feature in national domestic leagues, will be staged next year from January 11 to February 2 in Nairobi. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is the defending champion.