8 : 7
0 : 2
0 : 1
1 : 0
2 : 1
5 : 6
Rwanda open AYC campaign with Mali
Rwanda launch their campaign for African glory when they host Mali in the opening group A match of the 16th African Youth Championship in Kigali Sunday. The landlocked Central African Nation has transformed itself into a football powerhouse in the region and the Under 20 youth title could cement their long years of hard work and patience.
When the championship kick off Sunday, the Rwandese will be seeking to win the crown and make their stub in the more lucrative World cup finals next year. The senior national team made history in 2004 when they made their debut in the CAN in Tunisia and although they lost in the first round, they returned to Kigali as heroes after a marvellous showing.
Now the under 20 side after intensive training outside the country carry the hopes of the 10 million Rwandese, who think their side has the pedigree to challenge any side in Africa. But the home team will not grab success without a fight. Mali have been regular campaigners in the African arena and could pose a potential threat to Rwanda's bid to launch a positive start to the championship.
Home support hold the key to Rwanda's successful campaign and a good start on Sunday will motivate the junior "Amavuvi" in their subsequent matches against giants Ghana and Cameroon the other combatants in group A.
The home team with a galaxy of talented stars will be inspired by their midfield kingpin Robert Muvuyi and sure goalkeeper Jean Luc Ndayishimiye, both were outstanding when the senior team qualified to the second round of the CAN/World cup qualifiers last year.
Mali cannot be underrated and their experience both at senior and junior level in African football would be brought to bear as the 16th edition of the under 20 event gets underway.
In the second match of Group A to be played later in the eveneing, Ghana will take on long time adversaries Cameroon in what is billed to be an epic showdown. Rwanda FA have been working long hours in the run-up to the opening ceremony Sunday to ensure that all the facilities are ready for the second most important event of CAF.
This is the first time, Rwanda, a landlocked nation is holding a major sporting event in its history. The two week competition will be staged in both renovated Amahoro and Nyamirambo Stadia in Central Kigali.
HOSTS COUNTRIES OF NEXT CAF COMPETITIONSOrange CAN 2012
REGULATIONS / PUBLICATIONSCAF Statutes