26 April 2015 09:30
Yannick Mukunzi and Kevin Muhire were on target as Rwanda registered a comfortable 2-0 win over Somalia in the first leg, first round of the Africa U-23 Championship qualifier held on Saturday at Amahoro Stadium.
Mukunzi scored a 17th minute header after connecting a cross from left back Janvier Mutijima to slot the opener past Somalia goalkeeper Mustaf Khalib Hussein.
Substitute Kevin Muhire who came off the bench replacing Bon Fils Kabanda with ten minutes to go scored a brilliant goal in added-on after curving a 40-metre shot into the back of the net, a feat which lifted the Amavubi fans.
Rwanda head coach Jonathan McKinstry hailed his youthful side following a positive start to the long journey of qualifying for Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics.
He said, “I am pleased with the result and the general performance from the players. We however failed to convert some good chances in the first half and the display in the second half was not that good,”
“Kevin Muhire scored a wonderful goal. He has the ability to even perform much better. Somalia played some good football in the midfield but we benefitted from their mistakes to claim an overall positive result,”
“We still have some issues to rectify ahead of the second leg and I believe we will be much organized and better in the second leg,” added McKinstry.
Somalia’s assistant coach James Magala gave credit to his players for the way they played against a strong Rwandan side.
Magala said, “Our players did the best they could. It was a good display from them considering what we passed through in preparation for this qualifier. We lacked international experience and I believe that was the only difference between our team and Rwanda,”
“We still have a chance to overturn the result in the second leg which will be played in Nairobi and I believe we will play a different game contrary to our first leg display,” added the Ugandan-born coach.
The second leg will be played on May 9 in Nairobi, Kenya.
The winner of this tie will face Uganda in the second round and the victor between the two sides will face Egypt in the third and final qualifying round.
The side that triumphs hereafter will qualify for the 2015 CAF U-23 championship scheduled for 5-19 December in Senegal.
Eight teams will compete at the quadrennial tournament. The top three sides from this tournament will qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil.