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Rwanda Draws Positives From Ivory Coast Defeat

Rwanda picks valuable lessons from their loss to Ivory Coast.

Rwanda national team duo of Ally Niyonzima and Emmanuel Imanishimwe deserve a pat on the back while Yves Kimenyi’s performance as the national team’s first choice goalkeeper needs to be probed.

The duo’s performance provided a huge talking point over the weekend despite Amavubi’s huge 3-0 loss to Ivory Coast in their final Group H qualifying match played at the Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny in Abidjan.

The goalkeeping department was however far from impressive as Kimenyi, who plays for local side APR FC, let in easy goals, in a loss that ended Amavubi’s disappointing journey with only two from a possible 18 points in Group H, having drawn two and lost four games.

Ivory Coast went ahead in the seventh minute with a somewhat comical goal: a ball looped over Yves, ricocheted back off the crossbar and avoided the retreating defenders before Nicolas Pepe fired the ball home for 1-0 half lead.

Manchester United center-back Eric Bailly doubled the lead in the 67th minute before Maxwel Cornet completed the rout for Amavubi with 18 minutes to the end of the match.

Rwanda had only one shot on target in the whole game but despite the poor showing by the keeper as well as the forward line led by attacking duo of Meddie Kagere and Jacques Tuyisenge, coach Vincent Mashami has said there were many lessons for Amavubi to learn from the game.

“Despite the loss, we have picked a few lessons from the mistakes we made. We now have to think about the future, and the essence is to learn and pickup match fitness for competitions ahead,” said Mashami in a post-match interview.

“Unfortunately we lost, but we were playing against a big and more experienced team. What I wanted is to make sure that my players are confident when they meet big teams of such caliber,” he noted.

Mashami and his delegation arrive back in the country Monday afternoon.

Their Saturday’s opponents Ivory Coast qualified to the AFCON for the 23rd time and will be amongst the favorites to claim the trophy in Egypt later this year.

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