Newly appointed Rwanda coach Yaounde Gilbert Kanyankore has named a 26-man provisional squad for the upcoming Afcon 2017 qualifier against Ghana at Accra Sports Stadium on September 3.
Kanyankore, who signed a one-year framework contract on Friday to replace Northern Irishman Johnny McKinstry, has embraced his duties with decisiveness and attention to detail in regards to the team shortlist.
With Rwanda out of the Afcon 2017 qualification bracket, Kanyankore who is also the APR coach has summoned 22 locally based players and only four who ply their trade outside the country.
Amavubi captain Haruna Niyonzima (Yanga, Tanzania), Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza ‘Migi’ (Azam, Tanzania), Jacques Tuyisenge (Gor Mahia, Kenya) and Ernest Sugira (AS Vita, DR Congo) are expected to provide experience to the rather new-faced locally based group.
Niyonzima, Mugiraneza and Tuyisenge are scheduled to arrive in Kigali on August 27.
Five dependable players who recently made moves abroad including central defender Emery Bayisenge (KAC Kenitra, Morocco), Jean Claude Iranzi, Fitina Omborenga, Abdul Rwatubyaye and Rachid Kalisa (MFK Topvar, Slovakia) have been left out of the squad to allow them time to settle in at their new clubs.
As a result, upcoming central defender Aimable Nsabimana, goalkeeper Bonheur Hategekimana, Fiston Nkizingabo, Onesme Twizeyimana, Olivier Niyonzima and Eric Iradukunda have earned their first Amavubi call-ups as Kanyankore looks to give a chance to young players.
APR makes up the bulk of the squad with 11 players including midfielder Andrew Buteera who returns to the Amavubi squad for the first time in 2016.
Kanyankore has been tasked with building a young squad while amassing experience and positive results backed by good performances and indeed against Ghana his first test lies in the near future.
Winning in Accra is a tall order for Amavubi who lost to the Black Stars 1-0 in Kigali last September courtesy of a Mubarak Wakaso free-kick in the 87th minute.
However, it was the 1-0 loss to Mauritius in Belle Vue in March and 3-2 collapse to Mozambique in Kigali in June that ended Rwanda’s hopes of returning to Afcon for the first time since 2004 in Tunisia.
The squandered six points would have brought their tally to 12 and among the few nations tussling it out for best second placed side in 11 qualifying groups.
Benin lead the charge for second best-placed teams with 11 points while Tunisia, Uganda and Central African Republic have 10 points but are separated by goal difference +10, +3, +1 in that order.
Ghana are on top of Group H with 13 points and have already secured a slot at Africa’s premier football event in January 2017 in Gabon.
Rwanda are tied on points with Mauritius, but the former sits in second place following the head-to-head rule as Amavubi thrashed the Islanders 5-0 in Kigali.
Amavubi provisional squad:
Goalkeepers: Ndayishimiye Eric (Rayon Sports), Jean Claude Ndoli (AS Kigali) and Bonheur Hategekimana (SC Kiyovu)
Defenders: Michel Rusheshangoga (APR), Eric Iradukunda (AS Kigali), Emmanuel Imanishimwe (APR), Celestin Ndayishimiye (Police), Herve Rugwiro (APR), Faustin Usengimana (APR), Thierry Manzi M (Rayon Sports), Aimable Nsabimana (APR)
Midfielders: Mugiraneza Jean Baptista (Azam, Tanzania), Yannick Mukunzi (APR), Haruna Niyonzima (Yanga,Tanzania), Muhadjiri Hakizimana (APR), Andrew Buteera (APR), Djihad Bizimana (APR Fc), Dominique Savio Nshuti (Rayon Sports), Fiston Nkizingabo (APR), Yussufu Habimana (Mukura), Olivier Niyonzima (Rayon Sports)
Strikers: Onesme Twizeyimana (APR), Danny Usengimana (Police), Ernest Sugira (AS Vita, DR Congo) and Jacques Tuyisenge (Gor Mahia, Kenya)