Rwanda will face Equatorial Guinea in an international friendly game in Morocco on Friday, September 23, 2022 as both nations prepare for the 2023 Africa nations cup qualifiers.
This is the second time the two countries are facing each other. The first ever encounter between them was on January 19, 2018 in a CHAN game in Morocco when a 67th minute Thierry Manzi strike settled the game.
Four years down the line, the Guinea Equatorial national team dubbed “Nzalang” have been able to step up the accelerator as they qualified for the 2022 AFCON where they reached the quarter finals whereas the Amavubi are yet to find their feet on the continent.
The game on Friday promises to be of high quality with both teams using it as a preparatory outing for the 2023 AFCON qualifiers which is scheduled to bounce back next year in March.
Amavubi players during a training session at the newly upgraded Huye stadium on August 30. Rwanda will take on Equatorial Guinea in an international friendly game in Morocco on Friday, September 24, 2022 as both nations prepare for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. All photos: Courtesy.
The tie will be held in Morocco after a memorandum of understanding between Ferwafa and the Morocco FA to host Amavubi matches and also take charge of travel costs, Accommodation of the Rwandan team.
The Amavubi are winless in their last four games in all competitions, drawing two and losing two. They have netted twice and have conceded three.
The Rwandan national team drew 1-1 with Mozambique, lost 1-0 to African champions Senegal, drew goalless with Ethiopia and lost 1-0 to the same opponent in Huye.
Equatorial Guinea on the other hand have lost two, drawn one and won one in their last four games. They were walloped 4-0 by Tunisia, thrashed 3-0 by Guinea Bissau, drew goalless with Angola and defeated Libya 2-0. In all, they have let in seven goals and netted only two.
Key players to watch
Equatorial Guinea plays as a unit because most of their players were either born in Spain or grew up there and they know each other. When they get a good day, it is very hard to break them down and anyone who watched them in the last AFCON can attest.
The Amavubi team is also being rebuilt and there has been infusion of some good talents of Rwandan origin who will undoubtedly beef up the team.
There are several players from both teams who can decide the outcome of the game on their own and Times Sport looks at five of those.
Born and raised in Luxembourg, Kalisa featured for the U-17 and U-21 side of the European nation before switching to play for Rwanda.
He plies his trade with Etzella Ettelbruck in the Luxembourg premier division and is among their top players.
A classical central midfielder, he can dictate the pace of the game as well as score goals. One magical pass from him can settle the game.
A tenacious and hardworking central midfielder, Ganet is the fulcrum in which the “Nzalang” revolves around.
The Real Murcia midfielder was one of the star players in the last AFCON as his country reached the last eight.
Much will depend on Ganet if the “Nzalang” are to flourish on Friday.
The APR forward is now brimming with confidence following his good show for his club in the CAF Champions League although they got eliminated.
Mugunga was by far APR’s best player over the two legs with US Monastir and he will be hoping to make another good impact at national level.
If Mugunga gets the needed service, expect him to bang in the goals.
Iban Salvador Edu
A very quick and intelligent offensive player, Salvador often plays just behind the main striker as a number 10.
The L’Hospitalet FC attacker is very dynamic aside feeding the main striker, he can also score goals himself.
The Amavubi back four should be wary and keep an eye on him.
The 17-year-old offensive midfielder plays for the U-19 team of LOSC Lille in France where he has already been tipped as one of the future stars of the club.
Sahabo has great composure and good footwork which enables him to take opponents on and create space for the strikers.
If Sahabo starts on Friday, or comes in as a substitute, he has what it takes to make the difference.
Battle of Tactics
Equatorial Guinea coach Juan Micha played a more defensive all round game during the AFCON in Cameroon. All he needed was good midfielders and one efficient striker.
It worked perfectly for him as he defeated then defending champions Algeria, Sierra Leone as well as Mali.
After the AFCON, the games the “Nzalang” played, Micha tried to open up and it was a disaster as the likes of Tunisia and Guinea Bissau annihilated his team.
He has since reverted back to the defensive system.
Amavubi coach Carlos Alos is also more defensive as he has defended in all the games since he took over.
Unlike Micha, Alos did not have clinical attackers and very good midfielders and now that the team has been beefed with the likes of Sven Kalisa, Hakim Sahabo, Glen Habimana, Gilbert Ishimwe and Ryan Itangishaka, he could vary his tactics a bit.
Amavubi coach Carlos Alos during a past training session. The Amavubi are winless in their last four games in all competitions, drawing two and losing two.